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BIOL 225 Thomson: Biology 225 Species Reports

Resources and information for BIOL 225, Organismal Biology, with Prof. Thomson

BIOL 225 research paper description and requirements

Species Reports - description and overview

  • Select species you have observed this semester using iNaturalist that occur in one of our partner County Parks; Edgewood, Huddart, San Bruno, San Pedro, or Wunderlich.
  • To determine if your species occurs in the parks use the Natural Resource Database and conduct a Checklist Search for your category of organisms (Birds, Reptiles, Plants etc).
  • Use the Cañada College Library Databases to research your species to find as much information as you can on any of the following topics; classification, ecology, conservation, and or ethnobotany.

As the articles you use to write your report will be part of the grade you should compile a correctly formatted reference list using CSE citations.

Our partners

We'll be investigating the species found in these local parks and preserves:

Important points

Proofread your paper for proper grammar. Papers that have obviously not been proofread will lose points. 

See the section of this guide on plagiarism.   If you cut and paste text, or otherwise copy, directly from the article or any other source you will fail the assignment and receive an F the course.

Make sure you:

  1. Proofread carefully, and have someone ELSE proofread for you as well.Be sure to cite each sentence that does not entirely contain your own original thoughts and words with an in-text citation that includes the first author's surname and the year of publication in parentheses at end of sentence or phrase, or a numbered endnote notation. In-text citations are preferred.
  2. Do not overuse quotations. Paraphrase information in your own words whenever possible. Show your own thoughtful examination of the data and concepts. Your grade is based on this.


Science news sources

These scientific news sources often give short summaries of recent research studies :

News sources

News sources (newspapers and magazines) that may be useful for this assignment are:

Sources: scholarly, peer-reviewed, reliable and popular

Sources: scholarly, peer-reviewed, reliable and popular

Scientific articles can come from a variety of sources, and do not all need to be from scholarly journals. Scientific American, National Geographic, Bay Nature and Discover Magazine are excellent layman’s journals that are reputable (see box to the right).

The scientific journals Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences are highly technical, but have sections and articles that should be understandable for an undergraduate biology student (see box to the right).

Online sources like ScienceDirect can be highly technical but manageable with some effort. Other publications, like Newsweek or Time or newspapers, may be used as supplemental references - but not as the main references - and may be good starting points to find a topic of interest.

For websites, look for URLs that end the first element in .edu, .gov, or .org :

.edu = abbreviation for "education", usually tied to a college or university (ex. Canada College Library)

.gov = local, state, or federal agency (ex., Environmental Protection Agency, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

.org = organization, usually nonprofit but not always (ex., California Academy of Sciences, CalFlora)

.com = commercial enterprise; may be useful but read carefully & beware advertisements until you're sure it's trustworthy (like The Fungi of California is).

Reputable popular scientific magazines

These reputable magazines are written for the average reader interested in science so they are easier to understand than academic, scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

Scientific journals

If you want to go directly to a technical scientific journal, these are major sources for biological research:

Naturalist blogs

Blogs by local naturalists, science museums, and organizations can be another useful source of news about Bay Area wildlife.