1. Download the “Assessment 3 Worksheet.” Begin working on the worksheet after reading through this document.
  2. There are a few visual models that students will create for this assessment. Feel free to either hand-draw them neatly and take a photograph or create them using a program, such as Microsoft PowerPoint® and then save the slide as an image. Paste the images into the worksheet.
  3. Citations must follow the guidelines in the coursepack: “Literature Citation Requirements.”
  4. If your species is not yet extinct, approach the questions below as if it is already extinct.
  5. Feel free to use your notes while working on this assessment.
  6. Point values are provided in the rubric.
  7. Students can discuss with each other only their research approach. Do not send drafts of this assessment to each other or copy answers. This assessment is submitted to Turnitin and checked for plagiarism, including copying websites or your peers.
    1. Turnitin produces a similarity score and we use that score to indicate which ones to check further for plagiarism
    2. There is not a set similarity percentage that indicates plagiarism. The similarity will depend on the length of the answers and if the questions are restated in those answers.
  8. Save the document as a Microsoft Word® document. If you do not have Microsoft Word®, then please see the “Start Here” folder in D2L for information on how to obtain a free copy of it from MSU.
  9. Submit the Word document to the Assignment folder titled “Assessment 3.”


Part 1: Conservation

Did you read the instructions above?

  1. Reflect on the benefits and threats to biodiversity. Predict which of these would relate to your candidate species if it was reintroduced to an ecosystem. Incorporate multiple examples. Include at least one citation (for your species or a closely related species) that supports your prediction. Do not forget to include in-text citations in your answer.
  2. The candidate species will initially be created in a laboratory setting and then likely will be in a captive breeding program before it is released into a natural ecosystem. Create a species survival plan for your candidate that will prepare it for re-introduction and maintain the species in a natural environment after it is reintroduced. In your description, include why it is a plausible plan for your species. Answer in 3-5 sentences.


Part 2: Species Interactions

  1. Create a species interaction model for the community that may be used for your candidate species’ reintroduction. Include at least 6 species, in addition to your candidate species. Follow these instructions:
    1. Create at least three examples of interactions that include your candidate species and one other species.
    2. Then create three additional examples of interactions that do not include your candidate species.
    3. Across the six total interactions, use at least three different types of interactions.
    4. Label each interaction (or create a key) with the type of interaction: competition, mutualism, commensalism, or consumption (predation and parasitism are considered as different types of interactions if labeled as such).
    5. Include a brief description for each interaction (incomplete sentences are acceptable). Exception: there is no need to include a further description for predator/prey relationships.
    6. Label the ends of each interaction line with +/-/N (positive, negative, or neutral) to describe how each species is impacted by the interaction.
  2. Include at least one citation that supports your model. This citation can be for the ecological community and not your specific species.
  3. Using the model, predict how the reintroduction of your species will impact the overall community (e.g., will some species be positively impacted by having another prey item while others will be negatively impacted by predation or competition?). Provide specific examples, based on the model.


Carbon & Climate Change

  1. Your candidate species contains carbon. Draw a pathway through the carbon cycle that an atom of carbon might take from your species to another species in its potential ecosystem. Follow these instructions.
    1. Include the processes, all four spheres, and things (such as organisms) in your diagram.
      1. Name each sphere.
      2. Add the “things” within parentheses.
  • Add arrows to indicate processes and label each arrow with the process
  1. Number the order of the processes
  1. Feel free to include a description with your model.
  2. Your model must make biological sense for the ecosystem.
  3. Note that this is not just a replicate of the carbon model we made in class; it is a specific pathway and will not include every process from the original model.
  1. Predict to what extent re-introducing your species will impact the size of each carbon reservoir/sphere and the equilibrium (or non-equilibrium) of the cycle. Explain your reasoning.
  2. Let’s say that your species is going to be re-introduced tomorrow. Predict how climate change will impact your species in the next 50-100 years.
    1. What will the climate be like in the next 50-100 years in your species’ region and biome compared to what it is like right now?
      1. Note that climate is more than just temperature.
      2. Provide citation(s) to climate models that you used to answer this question.
    2. Explain why you selected these climate models, such as who created the model and how you accessed the model.
    3. How will your species be impacted by these changes in climate?
      1. Include at least one citation (specific to your species or the particular habitat) for this question that supports your prediction. Do not forget to include in-text citations in your answers.
    4. Create a model that explains how variations in greenhouse gas concentration result in changes in climate and how your species survival plan will impact greenhouse gas concentration. The model should address the following questions:
      1. How does greenhouse gas concentration influence climate?
      2. Which type(s) of photons (light and/or infrared/heat photons) play a role in this cause and effect relationship?
      3. How does an increase in carbon dioxide cause an increase in temperature?
      4. How will the survival plan (from question #2) influence greenhouse gas concentration? (e.g., are there things necessary in the plan that will require fossil fuels?)


Population Growth

    1. Consider how the number of individuals changed over time before extinction. Was the number stable until a sudden event caused it to crash? Was it a gradual reduction in size? Was it similar across all populations- or at least our knowledge of it was generalized to all populations?
      1. Create a population (or species) growth curve for your candidate species- create more than one if there was more than one way that the populations changed over time (e.g., maybe some crashed suddenly while others gradually declined or maybe some have crashed and a few populations still remain).
      2. The curve does not need exact sizes or years- we often do not have that data anyway- just provide general information- thousands, hundreds, tens…1700’s, 1800’s, recently…? Make sure to label the X- and Y-axes.
      3. If your species is not yet extinct, it is okay to indicate that in the growth curve.
      4. Make sure to note if the number of individuals refers to specific populations or the species overall.
    2. Describe how the numerical value of the carrying capacity changed over time and why it changed.
    3. What caused the collapse of the species? Name at least a couple issues (do not just state “humans”) and label these as density-independent or dependent. Explain how you concluded which one it is (some factors may not be obviously one or the other, but the explanation should indicate an understanding of the concepts).
    4. Include at least one reference, including in-text citations.

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