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BIOL325 California State Marine Creatures in Northern stargazer Essay

Marine Creatures in the World

For this essay, you will write 1000 carefully researched and well supported words on something that lives in the ocean. The subject species is your choice but there should be enough published information about it to characterize it four ways: Biologically, Ecologically, Culturally/Economically and Looking Forward.

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Choose any living thing, from any marine ecosystem in the world. What is the Latin name and common name (if any) of this species? Describe the species thoroughly, including its anatomy, biology and phylogenetic relationships. Is it common or rare? What makes it interesting?


Describe its habitat in detail. What other things live in that habitat? Is that habitat abundant globally or rare. Can this species live many different places or is it restricted to a very specific habitat? Describe how it gets its energy (for example: photosynthesis, or filtering plankton out of the water for food, or hunting in packs to capture seals…) and what its predators and competitors are. What, if any, other species are known to depend on your species of interest and how?

Culturally and Economically

Describe how this species figures in human affairs. How do people know about this species? What stories are there about it, if any? How do people use this organism? Some examples are as food for people or cultivated animals, entertainment, shelter, biofilters, fertilizer, building materials and so on. If it is harvested, about how much is harvested per year? How do you feel about this species? Would you say that it is beautiful?…delicious?

Looking in to the Future

What is the outlook for this species in the future? Are its numbers increasing or decreasing? Does it have potential uses that will cause it to be exploited or cause people to cultivate it? Does it live in an expanding or disappearing habitat or require resources that are expected to change in abundance in the future? Based on your research, what are your expectations for this species in the coming century. If you imagine an ideal future for the species, what would that look like?

You must choose a single species, not a group (sharks, seaweed, coral…) or an ecosystem(kelp forest, coral reef…). Every species has a 2-part name in Latin, to let you know that you are talking about all of the individuals of a type that could potentially interbreed. Unusual species are more interesting and will get an extra point in the Rubric.

You should illustrate your essay with images and/or diagrams that DO NOT come from the course textbooks. All illustrations must have a caption and be referred to in the text of the essay. You must cite at least 5 sources of information you use to write the essay. At least 1 of those sources must be a peer-reviewed publication. It should be evident in the essay that you read and understood the sources of your information. Paraphrase all material for your sources. Do not include quotations from the sources.

There are 2 due dates for this essay. Revise your essay based on the feedback you get on your first submission to get a better grade on what you submit for the final due date. Put your name in the title of the file that you upload. The essay is worth 10% or the course total grade.