Keystone Species Research Paper
This writing assignment is designed to provide opportunities for the student to find, evaluate, select, synthesize, organize, cite, and present information and arguments clearly and effectively for understanding scientific issues on personal, societal, and global levels.
Your Aunt Gertrude recently wrote you a letter mentioning a news story she saw about a mysterious disease that causes sea stars to disintegrate. "I don't know why there's so much fuss about sea stars," she writes. "They just sit there all day in the ocean and as far as I'm concerned, who would even notice if they disappeared? Those scientists should take all that time and money they're spending on sea stars and put it to good use saving the whales instead!" Knowing you are enrolled in a biology course, your aunt wants to know what you think about the subject. Remember your aunt is smart but has not taken a biology course in many years. Your response to her needs to be concise and clear, but understandable by a non-scientist.
Write a well-researched letter to your aunt that addresses the following key points (allocate 1 - 2 paragraphs for each point):
1. What is a keystone species? Explain why sea stars are considered a keystone species in their community.
2. Explain the potential causes for sea star wasting disease, and describe the scientific evidence for each cause.
3. Which cause or causes of the disease may be attributable to the actions of humans? Explain how human actions can be linked to the spread of this disease in sea star populations.
4. Do you think it is important for people to protect keystone species from decline, such as taking measures to prevent wasting disease in sea stars? Is it important to protect keystone species regardless of whether humans are responsible for the species decline? Explain your opinion to your aunt. Be sure to support your opinion with evidence.
*NOTE: Your entire paper, even parts that ask for your opinion, must be well supported by evidence. Having a good number of quality references will help in this regard.
Assigned article (must read and use in your paper):
Lopatto, E. (2014, November 18). In search of the starfish killer: the quest to save the original keystone species. The Verge
http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7222479/starfish-wasting- quest-save- keystone-species
Total number of references (3):
You must use and reference the above article and at least two additional sources for this paper, making the minimum number of references for your paper 3. You may review relevant chapters in your textbook and use other sources to fill in missing information.
It is important that your response to your aunt be thoroughly researched and clearly written.
You should define all your terms and be concise (1,000 words maximum). This assignment is designed to give you the experience of applying your knowledge of biology to a current controversy or topic of interest. You will use this experience as an informed citizen and consumer when making decisions in the future that involve biology.
Secondary Sources: You may also find relevant articles in recent newspapers, popular magazines, or popular science journals. These are referred to as "secondary" sources, since they describe research that was published elsewhere. Examples of these include The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Time, Scientific American, Discover, New Scientist, and Science News.
Websites: If you choose to use a website, be aware that most websites are not peer-reviewed, and often present inaccurate information. Examples of excellent websites include those of the National Academy of Science, the National Institute of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and WebMD. If you are unsure of the appropriateness of a website, check with your instructor.
The structure of your paper
• Be sure to cover all four points mentioned above and define all technical terms that you use.
• Your paper must be between 750 to 1000 words (not including references). Your paper should be double-spaced with one-inch margins, using 12 point Times New Roman font. No cover page is required.
• You are not allowed to include any quotes in your paper. All of your writing must be original. You must paraphrase ideas from the literature, even if you provide an in-text citation.
• Information and ideas that are paraphrased must be accompanied by proper in-text citations in the body of your paper and a corresponding reference in APA format.
• You need to review your paper for format, spelling, grammar and usage errors before you submit it, or you will lose points.
• Please also review the grading rubric before submitting your paper to make sure that you have done everything you can to receive a good grade.
Guidelines for citing references
In-text citations should be in APA format. You can find a summary of APA guidelines for your reference page at: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Your bibliography should be formatted using APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines. You can find a summary of APA guidelines for your reference page at:
Article: In search of the starfish killer: the quest to save the original keystone species by By Elizabeth Lopatto.