Graduate Student Paper
The Okeefenokee Swamp as Biological Corridor
References from Anna Sanford
Go to the following web site to download the references: http://www.valdosta.edu/~aesanfor/grpdfspr07.html
Biological corridors, pathways used by organisms for dispersal from one area of suitable habitat to another, are instrumental in the distribution of species and ultimately their biogeography. Within the City of Valdosta, key biological corridors are One-mile Branch and Two-mile Branch creeks. During droughts when the waters of the Withlachoochee River and surrounding wetlands get very low or dry out completely, alligators disperse from the main river channel and the associated wetlands and move up the creeks looking for sources of water. As a result of these activities, alligators have been found on the VSU campus and in housing areas near the headwaters of the creeks during droughts as well as at other times.
The graduate students will work as a team to develop a detailed analysis of a potential biological corridor, the Okeefenokee Swamp and its associated drainage basin. To do this, the graduate students will conduct a detailed literature search covering a wide array of topics, jointly develop arguments from the literature that allow them to successfully argue that the Okeefenokee Swamp is or has in the past served as an east-west biological corridor allowing plants and animals to migrate between the East Coast and the Gulf Coast, and finally write a paper.
The topics that will need to be covered include but are not restricted to the following:
Key Dates and Times—On the first and third Mondays of each month, the graduate students will meet with the instructor for a brief discussion session after class to assess the progress they are making on the development of the research project. By 2 April, all literature and data pertinent to the project must be completed and the first draft of the paper turned in. By 1 May, the final draft of the paper must be completed. If you have any questions between our regular meetings, schedule a meeting with me or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cooperative Efforts and Plagiarism—This is a team effort with the primary focus being the development of a professional quality paper suitable for submission to a scientific journal such as the Southeastern Naturalist. Team efforts are becoming more and more important in the sciences as our body of knowledge and understanding of various subjects expands and the value of the interdisciplinary nature of scientific research becomes more and more important to solve key scientific issues. Therefore, coordination between the graduate students will be paramount. The development of your arguments on the Okeefenokee as a biological corridor will depend on your working together as a team. The actual writing of the paper will require that you coordinate large amounts of data such that interrelationships between subtopics is well developed and succinct and stated in a professional language. The latter point is often difficult to master at first, but as you read the literature you locate, you should pay particular attention to the style of writing, the phraseology, and the new or unique vocabulary used.
At all cost, do not engage in any form of plagiarism. You will be extracting large amounts of data, written arguments and analyses from other peoples work and synthesizing it into a new and comprehensive work. Therefore, be sure to give credit where credit is due. As you accrue information, extract charts, tables and figures from the literature, take careful note on their sources and write down in your notes the full reference. If you have any doubts as to the correctness of your citations and understanding of the information you are gathering, discuss it with the lecturer. Finally, make or acquire a copy of every source you use so it can be saved for future reference if needed.
Paper Format and Proper Citing of the Literature
The final paper must be based on information taken from scientific journals and text books and all information properly cited using the format found at the web site below. The paper must be double spaced with no specific limit on length, but will most likely be 40-50 pages long including the citations. Papers will be graded on the following:
For more complete details on the structure, formatting and proper citation of the paper, go to the Southeastern Naturalist web site at http://www.eaglehill.us/jsauthor.html or the main web page at http://www.eaglehill.us/jsgeninf.html.