Hello all, and welcome to week two of our bi-semester experimental ecology class. I’m looking forward to working with you all, and I’m also very excited for the collaborative research project that we will all generate 🙂 The following is a synopsis of the work that we accomplished today, ending with expectations that we all need to meet in order to keep on track for our next meeting. And, with this in mind, I shall challenge myself, as well as you all, in order to put forth the very best efforts so that we can all shine brightly in the endeavor that lay before us.
We started todays journey with a short power point refresher on the experimental process, which included an outline of the “ever daunting” Scientific method, a method that includes observation, description, quantification, hypothesis generation and testing, prediction, and outcome expectation. We also learned that in order to search and generate a good hypothesis we must explore the literature, make personal observations of natural phenomenon, and talk to experts in the field, and as luck has it we are surrounded by a litany of world class researchers here at ‘good ol’ UC Davis, so I implore you all to make use of these rare gems in your pursuit of information gathering. Our experiment should be manipulative, paired with control, and always ask ourselves if something else caused the results we are studying. Scale of project must also be considered, for as time and space of our study increases so does complexity. We have too short of a time, so we will be fortunate to describe a simple step in the ecological process. Steps to consider when organizing our study are to define treatments, arrange sample units over space and time, and most importantly to envision what the graph would look like after data collection.
As this study progresses, we should feel free to think “outside of the box,” to be opportunistic, and be prepared to answer other questions=alternative hypothesis. While we plan our paper, we need to summarize our motivation, provide preliminary analyses-do stats fit our study question, re-assess question, consider recasting, define and evaluate new questions, and refine introduction. Keep lab book quick on the draw at all times!
Campus field site tour: I tried uploading pics, but I could not paste them here 😦
Points of interest back at the lab:
VIRI: – tall grass-spider-near shotgun casings, spider/plant diversity, fragmentation, connectivity, ballooning, planting preference. AVERY: Pollinator constancy-patterns in floral resources, and Bypass excluding bats and birds to measure effects on plant growth/insects NMDS. JAS: galls-disturbance, effect of bird exclusion within gall population. SONJA: interaction btw galls and mistletoe and pulses of organisms to aquatic environment. KENDRA Mistletoe=ketstone species-interaction btw dispersal, birds, insects. KIELY algae formation in arboretum , shading,turbulence, birds, and soil compaction, water run-off soil microbes. Branches hanging in water and microhabitat for organisms, leaf-litter decomposition. PHILIP: diversity effect on birds insects mistletoe. Experimental ponds in conjunction with other bodies of water.
Blog keywords starred from the following points of interest:
Mistletoe biology, including interactions between birds and insects. Branches in water and organisms that thrive in and around the branches. Gall biology and insect interactions within/around galls- read last years research on galls!!
Homework: three things to discuss from dropbox readings. Week 1- Bartholomew paper, Fox paper will be discussed by Avery, and ALEC will discuss the Futyma paper. Also, the class is to read a paper on topic of their personal interest and present possible questions, so come ready to pose a question. TWEET these papers to the rest of the class!
Kate will provide a tour of organizational tools, reference management, and note taking.
2-2:40 Techology, check out blog tools etc
2:40-3:10 Notetaking and organization – Kate
Good luck all, and I’ll see you all Wednesday 🙂