Project Descriptions

A total of five homework assignments, 3 quizes and a single paper are described below and due on the dates indicated in the Course Schedule.

Homework Assignment #1 involves expounding upon your current understanding of environmental issues.

Homework Assignment #2 consists of several essay questions in response to a brief newspaper excerpt.

Homework Assignment #3 builds on the previous assignment and the understanding of the interconnections and trophic interactions within an ecosystem. In addition, the two exercises will provide you with insight regarding the unintended effects that humans can have on the ecosystems balance.

Homework Assignment #4 involves plotting three population pyramids and interpreting the graphs to determine the current and future needs of these populations.

Homework Assignment #5 consists of plotting a graph and extracting information from the plotted data. Several essay questions are posed based on the information you gained from plotting the graphs and related data.

Three Quizes are assigned from information contained in the text and online readings.

One Paper is assigned and described below.

Homework Assignments

HW#1: Environmental Philosophy: Short Answer Questions
HW#2: Killer Whales: Scientific Evaluation
HW#3: Tigers: Biodiversity
HW#4: Populations: Pyramid Building
HW#5: Global Warming: Plotting CO2 vs. Temperature


QZ#1:  Energy
QZ#2:  Watersheds
QZ#3:  Ocean Waste / Marine Protection



One paper is required. Most Academics and all scientists build upon the work of others. Scientists then test their ideas by experimentation. And finally, they publish their results for peer-review. Discussion and debate is held over the results presented to determine there validity, applicability, and how the results should influence both the type and direction of future research endeavors. In other words, the published paper 'contributes to the body of knowledge' for the topic.

An extremely important component of this process is peer-review. Colleagues and others knowledgeable in the subject area review the paper before it is published to esure it is credible. Papers are reviewed for scientific validity, to check for errors in the experimental desgin or data used, to ensure that the paper builds on other published work, that the paper addresses potential criticism, fills in gaps in the knowledge base, and truly contributes to furthering our understanding of the subject.

Similarly, you will be writing a paper on a pre-determined topic. You will then submit your paper for 'peer-review'. That is, your paper will be reviewed by other student colleagues, just as in a traditional scientific peer review process. The purpose is not to criticize, but rather capitalize on the diversity and depth of knowledge that is cotained in the group. You should make changes to your paper based on these comments and submit your final draft after three 'colleagues' have commented on your work.

The peer reviewer's assessment of your final work will constitute part of your grade. The Instructor's assessment of your final work will consist of a major portion of your grade for the paper. You may feel uncomforatble with this manner of evaluation. However, this is how it is conducted in the Real World of Science, and you are here to learn science as well as humanities.


The term paper will emphasizes both the scientific considerations and the environmental philosophy and ethics portions of the course. Choose any two related topics provided from the list given below (one science, one philosophy). The paper must be 10 to 12 pages long, including at least five primary references and four secondary references. Primary references come from scientifically credible sources such as journals or conference proceedings. Secondary sources come from non peer-reviewed sources such as magazines, newspapers, and encyclopedias. Ideally, the paper should be 11 pages long plus a half page of good references. You will need at least five references from sources other than the assigned readings. The paper should be typed and have page numbers. Type the paper using 11- point or 12-point font (ariel or times new roman preferred), double spacing and a one-inch margin at the top, bottom, and sides. Include your name, SS#, the date, and the paper title on each page.

Combining topics should allow you to view the topic from a scientific standpoint AND allow you to consider some of the different philosophical perspectives involved in solving the problem. You may also want to address or percieve the problem [the philosophical perspective] by considering both the scientific concerns as well as the technological, economic, social, judicial, ethical, and or cutural aspects of the topic. For example, SCUBA diving is more environmentally sound than mining coral reefs for lime. But, is it ethical or just to limit local coastal persons from developing coral reefs to their greatest economic advantage? These are questions that must be incorporated when environmental managers act. This will require you to think 'out-of-the-box' (a bit overused). But more importantly, it will allow you to appreciate the cross-disciplinary and complex nature of environmental issues.


You may develop an outline for an additional 1% if submitted four weeks before the paper is due. You should also review the links regarding research papers. A sample paper will be posted in the Conference section for you to review in the future.

Evaluating Information found on the Internet may help you determine which Web sites give reliable information. Plus, the Princeton University Writing Center's Getting Started Web site may help you during the actual writing process.

The writing process should consist of these steps:

  1. Getting started: preparing for the assignment and getting ready to choose a topic
  2. Discovering and choosing a topic: reading to become informed
  3. Looking for and forming a focus: exploring your topic
  4. Gathering information: conducting research that clarifies and supports your focus
  5. Preparing to write: analyzing and organizing your information and forming athesis statement
  6. Writing the paper: writing, revising, and finalizing

Topics for Your Paper, by Subject Area:

Science (Gnsc/Nsci)

Environmental Philosophy (Humn/Behs)

Your Paper Will Address:
  •     Fragmentation, Marine Protected Areas, Coastal Development, and/or Smart Growth and a combination thereof.
  •     How it addresses these is up to you.  Be creative!
  •     With permission, your paper may address other forms of fragmentation (i.e. forests, suburbia/exurbia, etc.)



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