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Thread: Paper Topic Ideas (Invertebrate Biology & Forest Ecology

  1. #1 Paper Topic Ideas (Invertebrate Biology & Forest Ecology 
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    Hello everyone

    I'm currently taking invertebrate biology and forest ecology courses towards my undergrad degree, and have term papers for both classes due at the end of the semester. I have been toying around with different ideas for both papers, but wanted to get some feedback/suggestions on what to write about. I've listed some of my ideas below- please let me know what you think, and if you have any other ideas about possible topics I could tackle, please share them!

    Invertebrate Bio:
    - evolution and extinction of trilobites
    - use of invertebrates in modern medicine
    - why invertebrates so much more numerous than vertebrates
    - role of invertebrates in soils

    Forest Ecology:
    - nutrient cycling in old growth forests vs rainforests
    - kelp forests



    Thanks!


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    - why invertebrates so much more numerous than vertebrates

    That is a very artificial question since invertebrates is a group consisting of very unrelated organisms (although we are all related of course).


    The only thing they have in common is that they are not vertebrates.

    Which is what? Just a random decision to make a distinction between all animals.


    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    The ones that sound most interesting to me are the second for invertebrate bio and the first for forest ecology. What school are you going to?
    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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  5. #4  
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    University of Maryland

    Thanks for the feedback! I kind of want to narrow down "use of invertebrates in modern medicine" if I go with that topic- it's pretty broad. I know sponges secrete a plethora of compounds that are used or could potentially be used in treating a variety of ailments, so I was thinking maybe I'd focus on them. My undergrad thesis is focused on mollusks though, and I am tempted to write something involving gastropods or bivalves, but I also think it may benefit me to explore a topic I am less familiar with. What do you think?
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  6. #5 Re: Paper Topic Ideas (Invertebrate Biology & Forest Eco 
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherib
    Hello everyone

    I'm currently taking invertebrate biology and forest ecology courses towards my undergrad degree, and have term papers for both classes due at the end of the semester. I have been toying around with different ideas for both papers, but wanted to get some feedback/suggestions on what to write about. I've listed some of my ideas below- please let me know what you think, and if you have any other ideas about possible topics I could tackle, please share them!

    Invertebrate Bio:
    - evolution and extinction of trilobites
    I would have thought "extinct" would be the wrong term as some marine invertebrates appear descendant. "Evolution" should cover it.

    - use of invertebrates in modern medicine
    Interesting..... but possibly too limited. You could expand to include all probiotic medicines, with comparisons of efficacies between probiotic and other methods of treatment, tho' the literature is not great here. I am not familiar with sponge secretions, and perhaps this topic is not limited at all. I had initially thought you were referring to the use of porcine intestinal parasites in the treatment of Crohn's syndrome.
    - why invertebrates so much more numerous than vertebrates
    Too limited in scope, as 'trophic levels' covers it fairly adequately.
    - role of invertebrates in soils
    Possible - be sure to branch out beyond earthworms.

    Forest Ecology:
    - nutrient cycling in old growth forests vs rainforests
    This could be quite broad. Depending on your interests and knowledge base you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the complexities of the nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur, carbon cycles and other trace element cycles.
    - kelp forests
    What aspects?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Hydra is used a lot in regeneration research.

    Drosophila and C- elegans are actually used a lot as a model system for understanding disease models. It's so much faster and easier to do transgenics and have fast results compared to the mouse.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Not being anything close to an expert in any of the topics your looking at (though they do seem interesting), I'd add only this advice: consider the expected length of your paper (most undergrad professors seem to like a length that's in the neighborhood of 10-13 double-spaced pages (not counting references, figures, etc.), so I would make sure you have a topic that is narrow enough to cover sufficiently.

    The best research paper topics in my experience are the ones that tie in the class lectures to current trends in research, meaning you'll want to have a good base of primary literature that have recent dates. I've actually corresponded with authors of papers and cited "personal correspondence" which seems to make a decent impression on the professor (or, more often, the TA) grading papers. But, more importantly, it gives you some experience networking with academic peers. Unless the author is unusually busy, most really enjoy corresponding with students (to my experience anyway).

    Good luck with the paper! Maybe you could share an abstract with us here once you've turned it in.
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  9. #8  
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    Thank you everyone for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I think I am going to write about biodiversity in kelp forests for forest ecology, and am considering writing about non-auditory communication methods in different invertebrate species (assuming I can find enough info) for the bio course.
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  10. #9  
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    One of the many branches of study within the field of Science is Biology.

    The free web dictionary defines Biology as: “The science of life and of living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution. It includes botany and zoology and all their subdivisions. It is also the life processes or characteristic phenomena of a group or category of living organisms: the biology of viruses. And it is also the plant and animal life of a specific area or region.”
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