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Organism Profile



Assignment Instructions: You will write an organism profile based on literature researched about your chosen organism. Research should come from scientific information on the internet and research articles at the APUS library.  Your paper should include, but not be limited to, the following topics:
1.  Introduction/background information about the species - Include common and scientific names of the organism, the area you and this species live (country, state, city, etc.), the area’s biome classification, etc.
2.  Life cycle of the species- Describe the life cycle of the organism you have chosen. The life cycle of an organism refers to the series of changes in both development and growth from its beginnings as an independent life form up until maturity, when it is able to reproduce.  Organisms like bacteria have relatively simple life cycles; however other organisms (e.g., plants) have very complex stages to their life cycle. 
3.  Structure and Function- Describe the structure and function of at least one major organ system of the species (e.g., digestive system, reproductive system). Choose one system and explain how this organism’s system is structured anatomically and physiologically. Identify any species-specific characteristics or adaptations that are particularly unique to this organism and explain why.

4.  Evolution of the organism - Evolution is simply heritable change over time. Sometimes changes from one generation to the next can give individuals an advantage.  Specifically a trait that increases reproductive success or survival ability could be advantageous. Include a section in your profile paper about your organism’s evolution. Here are possible ways to research the topic:

               a.  Conduct a review of scientific literature to understand what is known about your organism’s past evolution.  Search key words may include evolution, fossil, ancestor. Often technical reports from wildlife and                    conservation agencies have descriptions of an organism’s evolution.

               b.  Summarize research on any adaptive traits. Search key words include adaptation, evolution, trait, and character.

               c.  Find an article on the family tree or phylogeny of your organism. Summarize the information describing related species. Search key words might include phylogeny, phylogenetic, and genetic analysis.

               d.  Use the Tree of Life Project to describe the phylogeny of your organism. Start at species, if possible, and trace back to the root. In addition to your summary, include any interesting patterns or unknown data.

               **Still have questions about how to research for the evolution section? Click here for a hypothetical example.

5.  Additional interests - The diversity of biological organisms is vast. Therefore, if your organism has a particularly interesting aspect about its biology that is not covered in the life cycle, structure and function, and evolution add a section to your paper on that aspect. For example, if your species has an interesting parental care strategy or mating system (i.e., protrandry/protogyny, polygymy, promiscuity, monogamy) you can include that in your paper.

PLEASE NOTE that you must submit your Organism Profile  as a “Microsoft Word” document rather than a Word Pad, Works, etc. type of document, otherwise you will not receive credit for your work.
Please review the university-wide policy on Plagiarism in your student handbook. All research papers will be submitted to a plagiarism detection website so it is imperative that your papers are your original work in your original words. Don’t forget to utilize proper APA style in-text citations for any paraphrasing and/or direct quotes utilized in your papers. Less than 10% of your paper should contain direct quotes and you should refrain from writing in the first or second person in your formal papersPlagiarism will result in a zero for the entire assignment, as well as a formal letter to the Dean of Academic Affairs who will determine the next course of action, so make sure the work is your own.
Here are some additional resources to assist you in the construction of your Organism Profile
·         Sample APA Style Paper




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