Evolutionary Biology

Science is constantly building on earlier experimental results. This required assignment illustrates this process. Select a research paper (i.e., a paper that has materials/methods and results sections) published in 2018 or 2019 in a scientific journal. Possible journals include American Naturalist, Behavioral Ecology, Biological Bulletin, BioMed Central, Evolution, Evolution and Development, Evolutionary Ecology, Invertebrate Biology, Journal of Experimental Biology, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Journal of Experimental Zoology, Journal of Molecular Evolution, Journal of the Linnaean Society, Journal of Zoology, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Nature, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, PLoS Biology, PLOS ONE, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Science, Systematic Biology, and many, many others. The selected paper should be on a subject in evolutionary biology of interest to you (lectures and your textbooks will give you an idea of the extent of the field). Note the difference between a research paper and “front matter” or a “commentary” on research papers—the latter generally will not be appropriate for this assignment, e.g. commentaries will not have any methods or results. Also note the difference between a research paper (one that presents original data and includes methods and results) and a review paper (one that reviews an entire field or subfield and usually does not present original data). Like commentaries, review papers will generally not be appropriate for this assignment. Once you have selected an appropriate research paper (complete with methods and results), read the paper carefully. Note that the author(s) cite numerous previously published research papers and that these papers are listed at the end of the paper (under “Literature Cited,” or “References,” or similar). Select 3 of these cited research papers (published in scientific journals in any year) that seem important to the presentation of the original research paper. Read these 3 papers. (If the papers are not online or in FML, you must allow sufficient time for interlibrary loan!) Your paper (roughly 5 pages with line-and-a-half spacing or equivalent) will consist of a brief summary of the original research paper, brief summaries of the 3 cited research papers that you selected and read, and a detailed discussion of how the original paper builds on the methods, results, and/or conclusions of these cited papers (selection of the cited references will be important in this regard). Include in your paper a copy of the reference list of the original paper, highlighting the three cited references. In your summaries, be sure to explain as clearly as possible what the author(s) actually did and what results they obtained. Your reference list will be (an) additional page(s) and should include all the papers you cite (minimally including the 4 that form the basis of the paper). In your paper and reference list, use the same format for the citations as the original paper and be consistent and include all necessary information (e.g., complete list of authors, date of publication, title, title of journal, volume, page numbers). Use your own words; you may quote to a limited extent, but not copy, any part of these, or any other, published works). Turn in a hard copy of the paper on or before the due date (no e-mails). Keep a copy of your paper in addition to the one you turn in.

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