Assignment 2: The Outline

Assignment Instructions

Assignment 2: The Outline


  • Rubric Assignment 2
  • Sample outlines
  • Use a MAC?  Here is a video link (captioning included on the link) that you may find useful that reviews formatting in word. (Setting up APA headers in word).

To help you write Assignment 4: The Organism Profile you will first submit an outline to organize your thoughts and main points. Your outline should be formatted a specific way (described below) and must contain the following parts as described.  To prepare for this assignment I recommend that you do the following:

  •     Read these directions carefully.
  •     Review the sample outline provided to you. (See attached at the end and top of these directions)
  •     Read the rubric. (See attached at the end and top of these directions). The rubric is a very detailed template that I will use to assess your performance.  It also will help you understand what is expected from you as you prepare your assignment.
  •     Message me with any questions!
  •      PLEASE: be sure to cite internal to the outline.  Failure to properly cite references can be construed as academic dishonesty and can result in points lost to no credit on an assignment.  Multiple instances of academic dishonesty may result in disciplinary action.  PLEASE review the materials from Assignment 1 or ask me if you have any questions on how to cite.

The outline format:  your outline must be formatted as described and exemplified in the example attached.  Please note that this format will be assessed in your grade:

  • Use an alphanumeric sequence
  • Sections should be indented and aligned.
  • Follow the suggested order of the required elements.
  • Use brief but detailed and descriptive phrases.  This will allow you to more easily flush these points out into complete sentences when it comes time to write the paper.

The required elements: Your outline should contain the following elements in this order:

I.             The Introduction: this section must contain

A.   The scientific name of your organism. Please see this link to help if needed: How to Write Latin Names of Species

B.   The common name of your organism.  What do most people know it as?  Are there other names?

C.   The area of residence in which you and your organism are (country/state/city).

D.   The specific biome of where your organism lives.  Please see here for more details on biomes.

II.           The Body: this section should contain

A.   Background: include a general physical description of your organism.

B.   Life Cycle: describe the life cycle of your organism.  The life cycle refers to the series of changes that happens from the beginning of life as your organism develops and grows into a mature organism.  Please see here for some hints on the Life Cycle.  Note that some organisms (like plants) have a more complex life cycle than an animal does.  If you have any questions on this please ask!

C.   Structure and Function: please select one organ system of your organism that you find to be particularly interesting and describe both the anatomy and physiology of that system.

a.    If your organism is an animal, here are a list of the general animal organ systems

b.    If your organism is a plant, here are a list of the general plant organ systems

c.    If you have selected a bacteria or a fungus the concept can be more complex.  Please contact me directly for more help if needed.

D.   Evolution: Evolution is best understood as heritable change over time, or descent with modification.  Please be sure to discuss the evolution of your organism using the following guidance:

a.    Conduct a review of scientific literature to understand what is known about the evolution of your chosen organism.  Search key words like evolution, fossil, ancestor.  Also, refer back to your results from Assignment 1.

b.    Conduct a review of scientific literature to understand the family tree or phylogeny of your organism.  Phylogeny is defined as the history of organismal lineage as they change through time. Search key words like phylogeny, phylogenetic and genetic analysis.

c.    Use the Tree of Life Project, which can be found here, to help you identify the lineage and related species. In addition, here is a list of other useful websites that focus on evolution:

Evolution: What is life’s History on Earth?

Biointeractive: Evolution

Evidence: How Do We Know What We Know?

Evolutionary Biology

NOVA Evolution

Species and Speciation

Understanding Evolution

Your Inner Fish

E.   Additional Interests: The diversity of biological organisms is vast and interesting! Identify at least one unique fact or behavior not covered in the life cycle, structure/function or evolution and discuss it.  For example, does your organism have an interesting parental care strategy or mating system? What about an adaptation or co-dependence with another species?

III.         Conclusion section: this section should contain four to six bullet points that sum up the main points from the outline.

A.     Start your conclusive section with one sentence summarizing some basic information about your chosen organism (name and geographical distribution).

B.     Continue with a brief summary (1-2 sentences) about the life cycle and any particular body structures.

C.     Include a brief note about its evolutionary path.

D.     Include a brief summary (1-2 sentences) about the ecological role of your chosen organism in its ecosystem.

E.     Wrap up the conclusive section with a closing note that provides brief information about a unique fact and/or behavior of your chosen organism.

IV.         Reference section: this is not just a separate section; rather referencing should occur throughout the outline as it will in your paper.  Please be sure to cite any language within the outline that should be cited.  Proper citation and referencing were reviewed in Assignment 1; please look back at those resources and/or ask me if you have any additional questions. Your paper should also have a final reference page listing no less than five sources used throughout the outline.

Please make note of the following tips and tricks!

  • We understand that this is a rough draft and as you research and writing continue over the next few weeks details may be added or changed.  Although you do not have to resubmit it to me, I recommend that you update this outline to help you best complete Assignments 3 and 4.
  •  Write your outline so that it has detailed bullets that you can easily then flesh out into sentences for the body of your paper (Assignment 4).
  • After your outline is complete, I recommend that you next draft your introductory and conclusion paragraphs.  This will ensure that all the main points of the outline are incorporated in these two framing paragraphs.
  • Please note that less than 10% of your outline or paper (Assignment 4) should contain direct quotes.
  • Please see the sample outline below!Assignment 2 Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to help organize your thoughts for the paper and to ensure that you have done all the needed research prior to beginning the writing of the paper.

    **Note: This is a hypothetical example to give you an idea of how to format your outline and include the required sections. It is not necessary to follow all parts of this outline, as it is an example. The bolded headings are required the rest of the headings and details will depend on your species and information found in reference sources.**

    Assignment 2 Profile Outline: Giant Monkey Tree Frog

    Required Introduction Categories: Common and scientific names, Geographic range, Specific location (country, state, city), Specific location biome.

    I. Introduction

    A. Common and Scientific Names

    Formatting: Note the format with the Roman numerals. Each subheading under the Roman Numeral (e.g. the capital letter) is required.

    1. Common names: giant monkey tree frog. Also known as: blue and yellow frog, bicolored tree frog, giant monkey frog, giant leaf frog or waxy-monkey tree frog.

    2. Scientific name: Phyllomedusa bicolor

    B. Geographic Range

    1. Amazon Basin (Frost, 2009)

    a. Brazil

    This is the correct way to write a scientific name! Scientific names are italicized and the genus capitalized and species name lower case.

    b. Colombia

    c. Bolivia

    d. Peru

    C. Specific Location (Country, State, City)

    1. Brazil (Frost, 2009)

    2. Columbia

    D. Specific Location Biome

    1. Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest (de Paula Lima et al, 2010)

    Types of biomes:

    E. Background and Description

    1. Not at risk of extinction. (Frost, 2009)

    2. Morphology

    a. Unique from similar frogs by a pupil that is vertically elliptical (Gagliardo, 2009)

    b. Nocturnal (Gagliardo, 2009)

    c. Males 91-103 mm, females 111-119 mm (Encyclopedia of Life)

    d. Dark green back with a white or cream belly (Encyclopedia of Life)

    e. Spots can be found all over the organism, especially on the flank and back legs (Encyclopedia of Life)

    f. Fingers are clear brown and have green adhesive discs (Encyclopedia of Life)

    The required categories (minimum) of the Outline and Profile Paper are: Introduction/ Background, life cycle, structure & function, etc.), and evolution and additional interests.

    g. Dark colored iris (Encyclopedia of Life)

    3. Physiology (Folger, 1995)

    a. Skin Pigments

    The life cycle subcategories will depend on whether your species is an animal, a plant, a fungus, or a microbe.

    Tip for Assignment 4: The introduction information plus background and description can be written in several introductory paragraphs. The first introduction paragraph should introduce the species and the rest of the paper as a standard writing practice.

    i. Protect against sun damage

    ii. Help in camouflage to blend into trees

    iii. Regulate temperatures

    b. Various secretions help

    Please see additional help in the Assignment Instructions if you have a question on structure function.

    In general, select an organ system that is interesting, different or plays an unusual significance for your organism.

    In this example, we are giving you details about the anatomy and physiology as well as the ecological use or impact. Your example may very likely be more centered on a specific organ system – for example the digestive system if you selected the cow. Focus on describing the anatomy and physiology and highlight unique aspects of the system.

    i. Retain water

    ii. Prevent infection

    II. Life Cycle of the Organism

    A. Egg Mass

    1. Consist from anywhere of 10 – hundreds of eggs (Gagliardo, 2009)

    2. Released on leaves near waterways(Gagliardo, 2009)

    3. Eggs are rolled or folded into leaves with the aid of the male (Encyclopedia of Life)

    B. Tadpoles

    1. Mating and conception (Jeffries, 2003)

    a. Queen female enters breeding reception once a year during summer month

    b. Fall into water when they hatch after 8 – 10 days (Encyclopedia of Life)

    c. Larvae are free swimmers (Gagliardo, 2009)

    d. Length of time as a tadpole depends on the temperature, in general it is 6 – 10 weeks. (Venancio & Melo-Sampio, 2010).

    C. Life Expectancy ten years (Encyclopedia of Life)

    III. Structure and Function

    A. Pupil that is vertically elliptical (Gagliardo, 2009)

    1. Adaptation found in species that are predators and are nocturnal or active at dawn and dusk. (Koryos, 2014)

    2. Adaptation evolved separately (Koryos, 2014)

    B. Skin adapted for survival in the Rainforest

    1. Unique skim pigments that protect against dehydration, infection and sun damage. (Gagliardo, 2009)

    2. Unique secretions that are used by indigenous people in rituals. (den Brave et al, 2014).

    Please see additional help in the Assignment Instructions if you have a question on evolution section.

    In general, this is the section students can struggle with most – so please ASK if you need help!

    In this example, we are giving you the classification of the organism as well as specific adaptations unique to this organism.

    Please give dates if possible.

    IV. Evolution

    A. Classification

    1. Some debate – can be classified differently depending on the source

    2. Lineage

    a. Animalia

    b. Chordata

    c. Amphibia

    d. Anura

    e. Hylidae

    f. Phyllomedusa

    g. Phyllomedusa bicolor

    B. DNA analysis indicates a close relationship between Pelodryadinae and Phyllomedusinae (Wiens, 2010).

    C. Fossil Information

    a. The earliest well documented amphibian is Ichthyostega, which dates back 363 mya. (Carroll, 1988).

    b. Frogs evolved about 200 mya. (Wells, 2010).

    D. Adaptation Pedal luring (Bertoluci, 2002)

    V. Additional Interest

    A. Ritual of Sapo (Kambo)

    1. “Kambo” is the common name for the Giant Tree Frog in Peru (den Brave et al, 2014)

    Additional Interests category is required. Add information about another aspect of your species that you have not already discussed.

    2. Skin secretion used by indigenous people of Peru as a lucky charm to improve hunting (Erspmaer et al, 1993) or to purify the body (den Brave et al, 2014).

    3. A healer will induce a burn on the right shoulder (in men) or the leg (in women) and skin secretions of the Giant tree frog are added to the burn. (den Brave et al, 2014).

    4. The active ingredient are several different peptides that act to excite nervous system in the flight or fight response (smooth muscle contraction, vasodilation, relaxation of arterial muscles as well as an inducement of an opiate- like response. (den Brave et al, 2014).

    VI. Conclusion

    A. Phyllomedusa bicolor, known also as the giant tree frog, is a common frog found throughout the Amazon Rainforest.

    B. The giant tree frog has unique adaptations that allow protect against sun damage, prevent dehydration and combat infection.

    C. The giant tree frog has a life cycle common to many other frogs: egg, tadpole, mature frog.

    Tip for Assignment 4:

    The conclusion should summarize the research paper highlighting main points without introducing new information.

    D. The giant tree frog has eyes with a vertical pupil.

    E. Frogs evolved over 200 million years ago.

    F. Indigenous people in Peru use skin secretions in rituals.


    Tip for Assignment 4:

    Use APA citation and formatting and a minimum of 5 credible reference sources.

    Bertoluci, J. (2002). Pedal luring in the leaf frog Phyllomedusa burmeisteri (Anura, Hylidae, Phyllomedusinae). Phylomedusa 1(2), 93 – 95.

    Carroll, R. (1988). Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company.

    den Brave, P., Bruins, E. & Bronkhorst, M. (2014). Phyllomedusa bicolor skin secretion and the Kambo ritual. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 20, 40 doi: 10.1186/1678-9199-20-40

    Edson de Paula Lima, J., Rodder D. & Sole, M. (2010) Diet of two sympatric Phyllomedusa (Anura: Hylidae) species from a cacao plantation in southern Bahia, Brazil. North-Western Journal of Zoology. 6(1): 13 – 24.

    Phyllomedusa bicolor Giant Leaf frog. (n.d.). In Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved from

    Erspmaer, V., Erspamer, G., Severini, C., Potenza, R., Barra, D., Mignogna, G., & Bianchi, A. (1993). Pharmacological studies of “sapo’ from the frog Phyllomedusa bicolor skin: A drug used by the Peruvian Matses Indians in shamanic hunting practices. Retrieved from

    Frost, D.R. (2009). Amphibian Species of the Word: An Outline Reference. Version 5.3 (12 February 2009). Retrieved from

    Gagliardo, R. (2009). ABCM Specialty Taxa Husbandry Phyllomedusines (Leaf Frogs). Retrieved from

    Koryos (2014). The functions of different pupil shapes. Retrieved from

    Mendes Venancio, N. & Melo-Sampio P. (2010). Reproductive behavior of the Giant Leaf Frog Phyllomedusa bicolor (Anura: Hylidae) in the Western Amazon. Phyllomedusa 9(1): 63 – 67.

    Wells, K. (2010). The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    Wiens, J., Kuczynski, C., Hua, X., & Moen, D. (2010). An expanded phylogeny of treefrogs (Hylidae) based on nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55, 871–882.

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