Grades in this course will be determined by attendance/participation, and through writing assignments.
Each week's total participation grade is 10 points, achieved through showing up and/or active participation.
There will be three major written assignments, each worth 100 points.
The intended audience is a scientifically literate magazine or newspaper reader; as such, you should document your sources of information appropriately (e.g., “according to a 2009 paper published in Science, the ‘acidification’ of our oceans may be a far more serious concern than increasing temperatures”, with a section at the end providing the sources and literature cited). Consider this audience carefully: what magazine or newspaper comes to mind? The Red and Black? Outside? Natural History? In this way, you are not trying to mimic the discourse of the primary scientific literature, but developing a story and argument around information and data.
Role: Scientifically literate person trying to inform, educate, persuade
Audience: science-savvy magazine or newspaper reader, so popular press but audience wants you to back up your claims
Format: informal, popular science prose, but again: back up your claims whenever necessary!
Task: Identify how climate change is typically presented as affecting natural populations, and how will our understanding of evolutionary dynamics change this forecast?
The three papers will follow the primary themes of how organisms respond to environmental change: Movement, Acclimation, Adaptation, and Death. In the case of "Death", our goal will be exploration of whether we can predict which organisms will best survive, the why and how of survival, as well as the implications of extirpation or extinction.
Please note that these topics suggest FOUR papers. I think that would be too much, if we want to achieve good thoughts and communication. Instead we will focus on movement/migration, acclimation/adaptation, death versus survival.
Each paper must also clearly discuss the relevant evolutionary mechanisms - dispersal, effective population size, genome size, gene flow, mutation, selection, mating, whatever - for the question at hand, and the paper will be assessed for your correct understanding of how these processes apply.
Task: see above.
Intrigue: what do you, as an informed biologist who understands evolution, have to add to the discussion about climate change effects?
Problem: how do we best communicate this awareness?
Each paper will be written three times:
1. The first version will be a rough draft in which your thoughts and arguments are laid out and considered, but little thought is given to particular form. One exercise for this first draft will be to simply open a text document on your computer and start typing ideas for 10 minutes, with a stopwatch. You can then fill in details and consider how these thoughts are organized, and which are useful and should be pursued, in a subsequent session. You will then put a third effort into shaping this information into a rough draft, which your instructor will read and provide (ungraded) feedback on. Please note that you don’t have to follow all recommendations at this stage, but you should consider why they were recommended and how they could help your paper. Feedback will include guidance on understanding the appropriate evolutionary mechanisms for your topic.
2. The second version will be a more careful draft that you bring two copies to class, and we will spend time in class reading and discussing quietly these papers to generate ideas on how to improve the clarity of writing, the impact of the information, the substance of the argument. Please note that graphs, figures, etc. are often excellent components of presenting such information.
3. The final version will be turned in to the instructor (Dr. Wares), this time for a grade. The rubric for these papers is defined on the “Writing Rubric
” handout/page. This establishes how well you communicated your idea; in addition, your paper will be graded for correct consideration of evolutionary mechanisms and how they influence the problem being considered.
The deadlines for the three papers (and associated writing assignments):
2. paper 1A is due: January 26 (10 points)
3. paper 1B is due: February 4 (15 points)
4. paper 1C is due: February 13 (100 points)
5. paper 2A is due: February 25 (10 points)
6. paper 2B is due: March 4 (15 points)
7. paper 2C is due: March 18 (100 points)
8. paper 3A is due: April 3 (10 points)
9. paper 3B is due: April 15 (15 points)
10. paper 3C is due: April 27 (100 points)
writing points total: 385 points
attendance + participation: 140 points
TOTAL 525 points
An A grade in the course: 472.5 points (90%)
a B grade in the course: 420 points
a C grade: 367.5 (below this is a C- which will not support your graduation requirements; please note that 525-140 is 385, you cannot do well in class if you do not attend!
How long are the papers?
Given the frequency of papers, time to grade, respond, time to re-write, time to add information, our goal will be a 2500-word target, not including references. Less may be effective, but be sure you support your thoughts well. Short response papers and "draft" papers will be closer to 1000 words (maybe less) in most cases. Note I do not care about spacing and format: make it readable and interesting, that is what is important!
UGA Writing Center is a fantastic resource as you work to improve your writing!!