You will make observations of the ecosystem at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve during your lab period there. On table provided, you will record the approximate numbers of individuals of each species observed, their general location, the habitats they use, and their specific feeding behavior. Your field observations will be done as a single class group. However, each student is responsible for taking their own notes
From your field notes, you will prepare a typed report of your observations. This report, too, will be your own work and yours alone. The report is required to be in paragraph format; outline, table, or list formatting will result in a severe penalty to your points earned for this assignment. Include the date, precise time of day at arrival and departure, time and level of the closest high and low tides, and weather conditions of the location of your observations. Give a general description of the wetland so that a person who did not go on the trip could get an idea of what it is like. Describe briefly the ecosystem’s sources of fresh water and salt water. As well, identify ecosystem parts including 3 different members of each trophic level (there will be at least 3 levels observed). List the bird species you saw by both common and scientific names. (Remember: scientific names are formatted very specifically.) Indicate the number of individuals that you saw and their location on the map. Give the kind of environment where each species of animal was observed (mud flats, shallow water, deep water, or marsh vegetation). Also include a list of the other animals you saw by common names (or by type or category if species was not determined, e.g. “small fish”).
The following is an example of an informative sentence listing some required items. “Fifteen great spoonbills, Spoonbillus greato, were seen grazing in shallow water near location B on the map.”
This is a report and not a narrative. Appropriately, you should only include facts. Terms like “beautiful” are descriptive, but opinions are always in the eye of the beholder. Stick to the facts. As this is a written report, it will follow all guidelines given to you on the “Guidelines” handout. If you need help, let me know. I am usually available to go over the report with you before its due date.
Enough information will be given to you during the field trip such that you do not need to seek other sources of information to receive a perfect score on this assignment. If you use another source, then you must include it in an otherwise unnecessary bibliography formatted as in the handout, “Guidelines for Writing Assignments.” Remember if any sentence or portion of a sentence is copied from a source, I will immediately stop grading the paper and score it a zero. (this has happened more than once)
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