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Behavioral Ecology

Term Papers

An investigation of an principle problem, pattern, or process that involves animal behavior. What was the most interesting aspect of behavior that you learned during the term.

Your paper should follow this format:

  1. Title page with author (no page number).
  2. Why is phenomenon "x" interesting (or significant) as an evolutionary principle, problem, pattern, or process?
  3. Start with: What is phenomenon "x"?
  4. What has be done to investigate"x" in the past?
  5. Is this information adequate (critical or praise)?
  6. If not, what would you do to test phenomenon "x"? As a matter of course, your term paper should include some sort of proposed test of the issues that you are considering. Papers that do not include a proposed test of the issues will receive a very poor grade!
  7. Be conceptual!!
  8. Be concise
  9. Formatting for draft and final version: 5 pages (final version-not including literature cited), 12 pt. font Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing, 1" margins.
  10. In the text cite (Author, date) (author1 & author2, 3 or more authors reads author1 et al.). The citation should read: Blowfly, I.B. & U.B. Wingnut. 1859. On the origin of feces. Evolution 123: 1520-1528.

What we do not want:

  1. This should not be everything you learned about "x".
  2. This paper should not be an elaborate exposition, and description of experimental design, methods, and statistical test. Any paper that puts the grader to sleep will fail.
  3. but we want you to propose an experiment to test the ideas.

Start thinking about your term paper early. As you read papers during the term, think about how these authors have justified the problems they address, and the mode of analysis.

We will be asking you to turn in a brief 1 page draft of your term paper before the end of the semester. We will make comments on style and the structure of the arguments that you can then use to improve your final term paper.






Outline and Rough Draft (10 points total)


Introduction (25 points total)


Experiment Proposal (25 points total)


Discussion (25 points total)


References (5 points total)


Comprehensive / discretionary points (10 points total)


Points off: over page limit, incorrect formatting and lateness


Total: (100 points total)


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