Project Ideas: Speed Dating and Color Coding


Sitting in the dusty classroom.

Brendan = Facilitator

2:15 Hand in NoteCards Assignment (figuratively) 

2:15-2:55 Go Over Papers / Highlight notecards with the key idea, response variable, and manipulation.

Agrawal et al. 2007: Jason


-Filling gaps in community ecology.

-Move away from the old ideas: for example: 1. looking at interactions separate from the entire picture of the community. We should look instead at multiple factors. 2. traits = uniform and unchanging. Let’s not do that either! Traits = variable and change 3. Scale of systems= not important to looking at feedback in systems. In fact, scale of system SHOULD BE considered when looking at feedbacks

– Jason recommends to look at the 4 web panels at the end of the article for more useful information.


-Scale of papers seem daunting.

Side note: when highlighting/taking notes on papers we share in Dropbox, save it to YOUR own computer first.

– Power of multiple interactive factors.

– Intraspecific variation effects certain processes within the community.

– Project idea* Variation in a trait that has effects on fitness = suggestive of adaptation. But we would need an organism that where we could measure the trait and the fitness.

Sutherland et al. 2013: Sean


-100 of the most current and best ecological questions created by influential (mostly western) ecologists. Addresses new types of ecological questions or long standing mysteries. Function was to find questions that furthered the field of ecology rather than solve problems facing humans.


Questions we like:

– #9  how does phenotypic plasticity influence evo trajectories? 

– #49

– #29 Below ground diversity effects above ground diversity?

– (missed the question #) looking at indirect effects rather than direct.

– #3 how local is adaptation? various forms of adaptations within a species over a large geographical area.

– “legacy effects on community composition”

Thompson et al. 2001: Michael


Frontiers of ecology where we need to go.

1.) Dynamics of coalescense in complex communities. 2.) Ecological memory and how it contributes to ecological composition. 3.) Emergent properties of complex systems: looking at attractors. Studying matter and energy cycling resulting in constraints by biophysical properties. 4.) Ecological topology: re-evaluating the scale of processes and models we use to study them. *understanding where things are in time and space.


2:55-3:30 Notecard speed dating (1 min per card) 

Exercise: Think about the random notecards handed. Look at the key question/response variable/measuring. We pitched each other’s ideas.


post-2-1183520058 70mistletoe02.28.00 vernalpic1 E100_3552

3:30-3:40 Break

3:40-4:50 Added to the notecard list a bit (27-29). Talked about each of our questions down the list. 

-Organized into general subjects. 

– Considered: feasibility and big picture ideas and general logistics.

– Added specifics of each question to the “live” word doc. (is added to the dropbox).

– Combined some ideas.

4:50-5:00 Clarify next steps for selected projects

– Vote? Not right now.

– Went over project idea doc. People separated into groups based on which topics there are most interested in.

5:00 Brainstorm party ideas (agenda item we did get to) 

(relating to EVE180 meeting during some form of happy hour or neutral fun space for continuing discussion outside of the lab)


  • Get together in groups narrow down/distill/refine ideas and VISIT sites (if necessary).
  • Collect relevant literature and feasibility of methods. This includes considering timeline constraints.
    • Delegate tasks each group member to complete before Monday
    • Create list of further action items for the topic beyond what is completed by monday.
  • Postpone weekly readings until Wednesday.

Agenda for next week:

2:10-3:10 Groups present their ideas. (6 groups 8 minutes each + 2 minutes discussion)

3:10-3:25 Vote and Break! (in analog no need to bring in devices)

3:25-3:45 View voting data in R. Kate demonstrates inputting data.

3:45-3:55 Project proposal format

3:55-5:00 How are we going to do the proposals? In groups? Individually?

– Leaving class know what you are writing the proposal on and who they are writing it with.

– Inventory of resources and supplies (think about lab tours)

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