Submitted by kruzzoli on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 20:19

Our group overall learned a lot about how be a better teammate and how to work together as a cohesive unit with our final project. We planned multiple meet ups throughout the week to work on the project which was something we did not do for the proposal. Because of the extra effort put into the project by everyone in the group, we had a much easier time collecting data, writing the report and creating a very nice poster. We grew a lot as a team from the proposal to the project and because of this I can now see myself being better at group work in the future. I already learned that I need to spend more energy when it comes to group work and I know how important it is to communicate, so I don’t think this will be something I struggle with in the future as much. Our final project was also really cool and being able to look at microscopic images of the webs was super interesting. I learned a lot about how to create a research plan and then how to carry it out, so the final project taught me a lot about myself academically.  

Finally, the reflection was a good way for me to reflect on everything this class has taught me this semester and allowed me to reconsider my feelings as a student in this class. I have not had to write a reflection since high school so it was definitely a reminder on how to evaluate the new skills sets that I have gained this semester. It was a rather quick and easy assignment but it allowed me to recollect my thoughts and really focus on the improvements I’ve made this semester which is something I probably would not have done if I did not write this reflection.



Submitted by kruzzoli on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 20:09

The first assignment of this semester was definitely unique and I think a good demonstration of how important  a well detailed and structured methods section really is. Creating a figure was important in itself because this is something needed for scientific writing and papers. I also wrote what I thought was a super detailed methods however the recreation of my image showed that I did have some errors and some areas that I could have been more clear on. I realized that all details, even if you think it might be common knowledge or common sense, need to be included and specified if you want a second person to be able to recreate what you did. This will help my future research and scientific papers because I am aware of how careful my word selection has to be and I know the importance of word choice and detail choice. I had two research projects in other classes this semester that I feel I wrote better than I would have before this assignment because I did my best to include all important details as well as getting rid of details that are unnecessary.

    The proposal project tested my abilities to work as a member of a group and at first posed a challenge between my group members and myself. We struggled at first to work together in order to complete the written sections and background research. Eventually we finished out proposal however it was not to the best of our abilities because we had failed to be a cohesive unit all working on the same project. We were able to turn this around come time for the final project.



Submitted by kruzzoli on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 19:23

I found one of the better ways to use write these prompts for me was to use them as a studying tool for my other classes. I would rewrite notes and define concepts or write a paragraph about a topic from one of my other classes. This allowed me to study and practice writing at the same time and I find it really helped me learn the material for the other classes.


    The perfect paragraphs had a similar purpose to me as the prompts did. They were another reminder to keep up with the class and served as a good reminder for how important editing and proofreading is. Often I get too lazy to reread things I’ve written so I just leave it as is. Having to read through a previously written paragraph and turn it into something “perfect” reminded me how much improvements can be made from an original draft. Updating a prompt to turn into a perfect paragraph bettered my editing skills because I learned to focus on sentence structure as well as content. The comments also allowed me to look through other classmates writing to get a perspective on well written prompts and also allowed me to better my own work by looking at what other students thought of my writing.



Submitted by kruzzoli on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 17:53

I have learned a significant amount about myself as both a student and as a writer this semester in this class. I struggled a bit with the structure of the class in the fact that we only it had it once a week so I found it was easy to procrastinate the work until last minute because this class had fewer deadlines than my other classes that met 2 or 3 times a week. Towards the end of the semester I did become better at working on this class throughout the week instead of just on Wednesday or Thursday. This was in large part because of the project and working in a group, so leaving assignments until last minute was not optimal since everyone in the group had to contribute and our project was reliant on all of us. Because of this I learned how to better divi my time and organize my time well.

    The weekly prompts helped to keep me on track with this class because they served as a reminder to be thinking about the class and writing prompts for all my other classes. At the beginning of the semester I struggled with organizing my prompts in a way that I would do one a day or spread them out through the week. Sometimes I found I would just post multiple on three days of the week instead of spreading them out. As the semester progressed and I began to develop a more solid schedule, I found it was easier to do the prompts in a timely manner.  


Reflection of Proposal

Submitted by bthoole on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 17:02

The proposal project was my favorite project of the semester. It was nice to work in a group and the openness of what the experiment could be was fun to play around with. The presentation that we gave to the class was easy to make and pulled a lot of information from what we had written for the final manuscript submission. I liked the collaboration around forming an idea for a project and finding other literature that was similar to our proposed experiment and could serve as a template for our methods construction. This will be an important skill for later in a scientific career when I have to think of and design a project. Next year I may have to do a literature review for an honors thesis and having done this project can help in my writing of a methods section for my project and for the overall aesthetic and layout of my thesis manuscript. It is my hope that I will have done publishable work and at the end of the year I can submit my research for review. Before that though, I have to propose a project and this project has helped show what goes into that process and how I can get ideas from similar projects to shape my own.

final draft

Submitted by cdkelly on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:12

These three projects compounded with the weekly draft posts and perfect paragraphs changed the way that I look at writing in a scientific setting. I have had plenty of writing courses prior to this one, but I believe that I was able to gain experience that is relevant to my career aspirations from this course. The methods project taught me the importance of writing clear and concise methods. Whereas the proposal project showed me how to write in such a way to persuade people that my project is worth attempting. Finally, the project at the end of the semester introduced me to independent research and improved my research-poster making skills. Overall, this course demonstrated to me the importance of writing in the sciences and I firmly believe that I came out a better scientific writer.



Submitted by cdkelly on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:12

The proposal project was an interesting project for me because we worked as a group and tackled different parts of the project. Initially, I came up with a rough idea for a research project involving spiders and then acquired a team of two other students from the class. We then streamlined the proposed project and did research on previous studies on a similar topic; keeping in mind that we were writing this to convince people to join our project. I will say that the original draft was pretty rough, but after reviewing the comments on it, I believe that we turned it into a solid proposal. As far as group work went for this course, I would say that this portion went the best for all of us. We all managed to contribute equally to the paper and the presentation. This then lead to a large number of students deciding to work with us for the final project in the course. In retrospect, this project introduced me to a skill that I didn’t previously have and laid a great foundation for my future proposal writing.



Submitted by cdkelly on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:11

When I initially heard of the methods project at the beginning of the course, I thought that it was going to be a lot of work. And while I found this to be true, I also learned a number of valuable skills that I didn’t have prior. For instance, the construction of the figure using Inkscape. In the past I would construct all of my figures and graphical elements for reports in Microsoft Paint, but after finishing the methods project I felt much more comfortable using the more advanced Inkscape. In addition, the actual process of writing everything that I did explicitly made me appreciate how detailed a methods section needs to be. If you are expecting repeatability for your experiment, then it it imperative that you include all of the relevant details. This was demonstrated by having another student in the class attempt to recreate my figure based only on the methods that I wrote. In my case, my figure was recreated with few errors, but there still were some areas that could have used more clarity in my methods section. It was really neat to see what the other person came up with, as well as comparing my replicate to the original. Overall, this project taught me a great deal about methods writing and will most certainly help me with writing scientific papers down the road.

Tetraodontiformes - PP

Submitted by mtracy on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 14:43

The tetraodontiformes includes the puffer fish and trigger fish. However, the boxfishes are also sometimes included in this group. These fishes are commonly called T-Forms. The fish in this order have an interesting dentition in which the maxilla and premaxilla are fused together and have a total of 4 tooth plates. They generally graze on reefs and are slow moving fishes. This is partially due to their short vertebral column, which makes them inflexible. Thus, only the back portion of their body, such as their caudal fin, and their pectoral and pelvic fins are able to move. They may even use their large pectoral fins to grab onto the reef and move in fine scale movements. Many of these fish have modified scales erect as the fish inflates with water and act as a defensive mechanism to protect against being preyed upon. The fish may fully inflate in as quick as 4.5 seconds. Many of these fish have powerful tetrodototoxins which also protect from being eaten. One example of this is the fugu fish, which is, oddly enough, often considered to be a delicacy in japan. The toxin in this fish is so strong that even a miniscule amount of the toxin can kill a person.


Submitted by amdicicco on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 14:28

One of the assignments throughout the length of the class were draft submissions. For this assignment we had to submit about 6 draft entries every week, which equated to about three hours of writing. When I first heard about this assignment I was not looking forward to it. I was worried that I was not going to have a lot to write about because Writing in Biology is the only writing based class I am taking this semester. Every week as I worked on the drafts I realized that finding things to write about was a lot easier than I thought. The draft entries were not graded for the quality of the writing, so it made it much easier to work on writing. This assignment forced me to write more throughout the week in shorter blocks of time rather than try to squeeze all of my writing right before the due date. I will use this technique in my future writing because I feel like it really benefited me and my writing by limiting procrastination. 


Subscribe to Writing in Biology RSS