clarify concepts like peer reviewed W r i t i n g
Marine Creatures in Life and Context
For this essay, you will write 1000 carefully researched and well supported words on something
that lives in the ocean. The subject species is your choice but there should be enough published
information about it to characterize it four ways: Biologically, Ecologically,
Culturally/Economically and Looking Forward. If you start working on a species and don’t find
enough information about it to do that, choose another species.
Choose any living thing, from any marine ecosystem in the world. What is the Latin name and
common name (if any) of this species? Remember, if it does not have a Latin binomial (2 words,
Genus species) it is not a species but some other group, or common name.
Describe the species thoroughly, including its anatomy, biology and phylogenetic relationships.
Is it common or rare? What makes it interesting?
Describe its habitat in detail. What other things live in that habitat? Is that habitat abundant
globally or rare. Can this species live many different places or is it restricted to a very specific
habitat? Describe how it gets its energy (for example: photosynthesis, or filtering plankton out
of the water for food, or hunting in packs to capture seals…) and what its predators and
competitors are. What, if any, other species are known to depend on your species of interest
Culturally and Economically
Describe how this species figures in human affairs. How do people know about this species?
What stories are there about it, if any? How do people use this organism? Some examples are
as food for people or cultivated animals, entertainment, shelter, biofilters, fertilizer, building
materials and so on. If it is harvested, about how much is harvested per year? How do you feel
about this species? Would you say that it is beautiful? Or possibly delicious?
Looking to the Future
What is the outlook for this species in the future? Are its numbers increasing or decreasing?
Does it have potential uses that will cause it to be exploited or cause people to cultivate it?
Does it live in an expanding or disappearing habitat or require resources that are expected to
change in abundance in the future? Based on your research, what are your expectations for this
species in the coming century. If you imagine an ideal future for the species, what would that
You must choose a single species, not a group of species (sharks, seaweed, coral…) or an ecosystem (kelp forest, coral reef…). Every species has a 2-part name in Latin, to let you know that you are talking about all of the individuals of a type that could potentially interbreed. Unusual species are more interesting and will get an extra point in the Rubric. Illustrate your essay with images and/or diagrams that are not from the course textbook. All illustrations must have a caption and be referred to in the text of the essay. You must cite at least 5 reliable sources of information you use to write the essay. At least 1 of those sources must be a peer-reviewed publication. The others may be from secondary literature or review articles. At most, one source can be a website. It should be evident in the essay that you read and understood the sources of your information. Paraphrase the information that you get from your sources in the text of the Essay. Do not include quotations from the sources. The library has great resources for researching and finding reliable source material. There is even a “Ask a Librarian” option for students to get personal assistance with finding information in the library. They also have videos to clarify concepts like peer reviewed, paraphrasing, citing your sources, secondary sources, review articles and how to use quotations.
There are 2 due dates for this essay. Revise your essay based on the feedback you get on your first submission to get a better grade on what you submit for the final due date. Your name must be the title of the file that you upload to the assignment link. Acceptable file types are MS Word or PDF. Google docs are not acceptable.