how to write a paper on biomonitoring?

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Throughout the course of your academic career you will be asked to do library searches

for information regarding particular topics. In graduate school, you will be asked to prepare

various proposals; for your thesis proposal, for your thesis proper, or for a grant proposal. You

will be required to find, read, and summarize articles pertaining to your subject. All of these are

valuable skills which you need to practice in order to become proficient at them. This

assignment has two purposes: first, it is meant to help you improve your library skills, and

second, it will allow you to become familiar with an animal that is native to Mississippi.

The point of a literature review is to get the key information out to the reader quickly, and

to identify the nature of a particular work. If the reader is interested, they can then go to the

original work for more detail. Briefly summarize the results of your articles in 5-6 pages. No

more than 3 references may be books – the remainder must be from the primary literature (i.e.,

journals such as Herpetologica, Copeia, etc.). Use current references. You will probably end up

with a collection of references from the early 2000s. Don’t go to one OLD book and stop your

search there. If your reference is from Copeia (1999-present), Herpetologica (1985-present),

Journal of Herpetology (1996-present), Herpetological Review (1996-present), Herpetological

Monographs (1985-present), or Southeastern Naturalist (2003-present), I have it. Otherwise you

will have to copy it from the library or use interlibrary loan if our library doesn’t carry that


Develop a bibliography of at least 10 articles on the topic or species of your choosing.

The species must be

native to Mississippi

and it cannot be one that one of your classmates is

working on. This assignment is worth 100 points. You will be graded on the correctness of your

work (grammar, spelling, typos, etc.), the quality of your search (i.e., current articles, relevant

books, etc.), and your ability to follow the scientific format in Appendix B in your lab manual.

Your report must be typed, double spaced, and only on one side of the paper. Use Times

New Roman 12-point font. Use 1 inch margins on all sides. For this report, make a title page.

Give the Literature Review a title that indicates which species is featured, skip a line and list

your name, skip another line and list the course, skip another line and list the date. Start the

report on the second page. Except for the title page, all pages should be numbered (beginning

with page 2). Page numbers should be centered on the bottom of the page.

The format that will be followed for this assignment is that used by most scientific

journals. An example of this style is provided below. Bibliographic references are listed in

alphabetical order by the

last name of the senior (first) author

. Multiple articles by the same

author are listed in chronological order beginning with the first article published by that author.

Single authored articles take priority over multiple authored articles.

Note the use of the hanging indent (use 0.5 inch for the indentation), no spacing between

initials, use of periods, and use of full journal names (

no abbreviations

). Note that the title of

the article is not capitalized except for the first word, proper names, and the first word after a

semi-colon. The names of journals and books follow standard capitalization procedures for

titles. Notice that when citing Copeia, the year of publication replaces the volume number.

Species names are italicized and the genus is capitalized (e.g.,

Ambystoma maculatum




Author last name, Initial(s). Year published. Title of article. Journal Title volume#:page



Author last name, Initial(s). Year published. Book Title. Publisher, City, State, Country.


Literature Cited

Blackwell, E.A., G.R. Cline, and K.R. Marion. 2004. Annual variation in population estimators

for a southern population of

Ambystoma maculatum

. Herpetologica 60:304-311.

Cline, G.R. 1989. Report on the status of the Oklahoma Salamander (

Eurycea tynerensis


Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 89:229-234.

Cline, G.R., R. Tumlison, and P.W. Zwank. 1987. Biology and ecology of the Oklahoma

Salamander (

Eurycea tynerensis

): Literature review and research needs. Bulletin of the

Chicago Herpetological Society 24:164-169.

Husting, E.L. 1965. Survival and breeding structure in a population of




Copeia 1965:352-362.

Petranka, J.W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institute Press,

Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

For this assignment you will be required to submit a literature review on one of the topics listed

below. This report should be typed and double spaced (only one double space between

citations). You will need to get citations for 10 articles or books on the topic of your choosing

(no more than 3 books). For this assignment use 1 inch margins at the top and bottom of the

page and 1 inch margins on the sides. Use Times New Roman, 12 point font. Center the

following on successive lines; Title, Your Name, and Course Number (BIO 301), and Date.

Start the list of articles on the second page. Number all pages except for the title page. Page

numbers should be centered on the bottom of the page.



Choose from these General Topics:

Life History Strategies


Population Dynamics/Regulation

Species Diversity

Nutrient Uptake in Plants

Community Similarity Indices


Biogeochemical Cycling

Community Ecology

Optimal Foraging

Predator/Prey Interactions

Colonization of “Islands”


Choose a taxonomic group to examine the following:

Thermal Ecology

Frog Vocalizations

Nutrient uptake in plants



Ecophysiology (response to one of the






Choose any species


and find 10 articles on its ecology.






Many journals are accessible on the Internet. If used carefully the

Internet can be a source of information and provide other sources to use in writing your paper.

Do not

rely exclusively on the Internet as the only source for your paper. There are a number of

reasons why the Internet isn’t acceptable as a sole source of information, to include:

The Internet seldom provides a cohesive theme concerning a subject. Useful information is

often spread over various sites and is difficult to locate.

Most of the information on the Internet is someone’s opinion and is of doubtful quality.

Much of it is downright rubbish!

Most articles on the Internet are not peer reviewed, thus casting doubt on their scientific

merit (see above).

The rule of thumb to follow is that if there is no author and citation information listed on the

page, you can’t use it.

All citations used for this assignment must be peer reviewed.

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