BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment – UK.

Subject Code & title : BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology
You should prepare a short report in the form of a Biology Letters paper (see detailed guidelines below). Some example Biology Letters papers and other relevant papers are posted on ELE. Divide your report clearly into 6 sections: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion.References. If you wish you can use subheadings within the Methods and Results to further structure your report.
BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment – UK.

BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment

Word limit: You are restricted to the following maximum word counts:
Abstract: 200 words
Main text: 1200 words.
The Title of your report, and the list of references (Bibliography) at the end, are NOT included in your word count. All text in the main body of the report, including in-text citations, are included and contribute to your main text word count. So, words contained in any subheadings (e.g. ‘Introduction’), footnotes etc., and words in Tables and/or Figures and their associated legends, will contribute to the word count.

Obviously, it is up to you to decide exactly what you say in your report, and to be fair to everyone, we will not be giving individual guidance on what to include, or how to write a report. If you think you have an important factual question that is not covered in this document, we will be able to respond only if you put it on the BIO2430 ELE forum. This avoids replying individually to large numbers of similar questions via e-mail.

Start with the broad question! The main body of the manuscript should comprise an introduction that begins with the broad context of the work (e.g. it might start with something like Recent theory (REFS) and empirical work (REFS) has attempted to explain the evolution of consistent individual behavioural differences in natural populations, otherwise known as animal personality. OR Animal personality is defined as…..), then some more specific detail on the type of behaviour you are interested in (with reference to previous work if relevant). The intro should close with a statement of
the aims of the study, and the hypotheses or predictions to be tested METHODS. There should then be a methods section that BRIEFLY outlines the important details of the study. Sometimes Methods sections also describe what type of statistical test you are going to do.

Information about the animals for your methods section :
Species is xxxx Stock colonies were obtained from Live foods UK limited in November 2021. The stock animals included
animals of both sexes and a range of ages.

RESULTS. The results section should detail the key results that you wish to discuss, and present the results in a way that the reader can understand. You should have 2 or (at most) 3 figures or Tables (sometimes a Table is a simple and clear way to present results). The text should describe your quantitative findings, including the results of statistical tests (remember to include enough information here – the type of test and test statistic, sample size or degrees of freedom, p-value). Results should also point the reader to any table or figures that are used to illustrate the results.

Figures should be numbered and have a legend. By convention, figure legends are beneath the figure, Table legends are placed above the table. Note that your results are what is presented in the text the Figures and Tables alone are NOT the results – they are visual aids you refer to in the text, to communicate the descriptive or statistical results given in the text.

The first paragraph of a discussion usually summarises the key findings or take home results. Then you can explain to the reader what the results mean, and how they relate to broader scientific questions, and other systems. Did the results conform to your predictions? If so what is the significance of your findings in a general context? If you did not find the anticipated pattern then think about why, what were the assumptions underlying your hypotheses, and were they violated, were there problems with the experimental protocol, how could this be improved or extended in future

BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment – UK.

BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment

References: You should have a list of at least 4 references that are not URLs and you should refer to these in the introduction and discussion. You should not have references in the list that are not referred to in the main body of the manuscript. You can refer to other relevant papers as you wish. Likewise any references in the main body of the manuscript should be detailed in the list. Finally the formatting of references should be consistent (this can be in Biology Letters format or in some other format e.g. Animal Behaviour).

The single best piece of advice: Read some papers in Biology Letters, Animal Behaviour, Proceedings B. Pay close attention to the style and content of the abstract, the introduction, etc. Look at how the authors set the scene and guide you through the intro to the objectives. Look at the language and style used in the Methods and Results sections. Look at how statistics are reported. Look at the figures and the figure legends – do they help the reader? Finally, step back and analyse the discussion – how have the authors interpreted their results? Have they highlighted the general implications? By the end do you feel you have learned something or gained new insight?

Further guidance :
• The abstract should be self-contained, and set out background and rationale in a few sentences. Then a sentence beginning ‘In this study we tested…’ or ‘Here we investigated…’ or something equivalent. Then a couple of sentences of results. Finally, a couple of sentences about what the results mean in a wider context. E.g. what lesson or insight should the reader draw from the work?

• Intros start broad and get more specific, finishing with clear statement of aims or objectives, or some specific information about what you are trying to do.
• Start by providing a bit of background – what is the general context or theoretical backdrop.
What is the rationale and motivation for the research – i.e. What do we need to know? Where is there a gap in knowledge?
• Then become gradually more specific.
• Toward end state what you are trying to do or test.
• Write in clear plain sentences. Help the reader understand what you are trying to say

Methods :
• Simple concise description of the logistical setup, where you worked, when, what you did, how you did it, (optionally) what statistical approach you used. Any exceptions or data left out of particular analyses.
• Keep any results (e.g. mean values for a particular score or measure) for the Results section
• Be concise but precise. The idea is to provide information that would allow someone to replicate your study.

BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment – UK.

BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology Assignment

Discussion :
• Start with clear, concise summary of findings. Often casual readers of a paper skip to the discussion to see what the take-home points are, so it’s a good idea to sum things up neatly at the start, before you start examining the results in detail and discussing their implication.
• In subsequent paragraphs take the findings that seem most important or interesting to you and discuss them – what are the likely causes of the findings, what can you rule out or rule in, do the results fit your expectations. If not, why not. What is the broader meaning or importance of each result.
• Each paragraph should serve a purpose – it should have a point that you discuss. It’s often a good idea to start a para by stating the point. Subsequent sentences expand/analyse the finding. Try to think about how each para links or flows to the next. Do they together form a coherent discussion of the results and implications?
• At the end of the discussion, sum up or conclude by highlighting the broader implications of the work. What does this study mean for people studying other organisms, or other (related) behavioural questions? What do you want the reader to conclude at the end? How can you use your paper to advance the reader’s understanding of the general topic?

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