Marine Biology: Marine Organisms Bibliography & Presentation

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Marine Biology: Marine Organisms Bibliography & Presentation
Students will each research and present information on an assigned group of marine organisms. Each student will then share information learned about the organism on a designated date during the term. At the end of the term an annotated bibliography on the organism is due. Class time will be given for using library resources to identify your topic and find resources early in the term. There are two graded components to the project – bibliography (30 points) & presentation of topic to the class (20 points).

Annotated bibliography 30 points

This is a formal bibliography that includes citations of sources with summary and evaluation information for each source. The assignment should be typed and double spaced. Each student will research the marine organisms assigned at the beginning of the term using multiple sources. You may use your text to help you narrow your ideas and begin to find resources. A minimum of seven sources should be used with no more than three coming directly from a website (using the computer to find articles is not considered a web source but citing the text on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute web page is a web source). Only one encyclopedia may be used as a cited source of the seven. You may choose the citation format – MLA, APA, CBE but be consistent with one format throughout the paper. Your bibliography will be graded using the rubric handed out in class. The emphasis is on finding accurate, reliable sources and providing a clear summary and evaluation for each source.

Presentation 20 points

On the date designated for your presentation, you will have 5-7 minutes to share your research with the class during an informal presentation. You may use a visual aid if you wish but it is not required. Your bibliography will not be due yet (it is due at the end of the term but you need to be prepared by the date listed with enough information to discuss the basic biology of the organisms and where they are found in the ocean). On many dates we will be discussing that habitat type during class as well so you do not need to describe the ecology of the habitat. Your points will be based primarily on the content of the presentation.

Your presentation should present an overview of the group of organisms. Specifically you should include the basic biology of the animals (physical features and adaptations, reproduction methods), where they live globally and by habitat type (pelagic, continental shelf, etc.) and the roles they play or niches they fill in that habitat (trophic system, population dynamics, etc.). Additionally, include any information you find on conservation efforts or impacts of humans on their populations.


Biology 8 points

Habitat & niches 5 points

Human impacts 5 points

Coherence of presentation 2 points

(Clarity of presentation, flow, ability to maintain audience interest)

A caution - plagiarism can occur during presentations as well as during writing. If you take something directly from a source to share in class but you do not use your own words, you are plagiarizing if you do not credit your source.

Annotated Bibliography Assignment & Rubric

This assignment is designed to help you evaluate sources of information in the sciences as you learn about a specific group of marine organisms. An annotated bibliography includes all of the citation information needed to find a source and a paragraph describing the source.

  1. Find a minimum of seven sources on your topic – these should be your best sources so that means you will likely have reviewed at least twice this many

  2. For the seven – only 3 can be web sites, only 1 can be an encyclopedia, your text is not to be used as one of the seven

  3. Pick one citation format and use it consistently in the assignment

  4. Look for reliable, valid sources that discuss research and use scientific language

  5. As you write your annotated paragraph include both a summary of the source AND an evaluation of the validity of the source and its usefulness. Paragraphs should be in full sentences 70-200 words long. Length of the entry is often linked with the length of the source.

    1. Summarize the content of the source – be descriptive and specific

    2. Evaluate the accuracy and validity of the source

    3. Describe the usefulness of the source

  6. The format should list the citation, then the appropriate paragraph annotation followed by the next citation and annotation. All entries should be typed and double spaced.

Brief Example:

Castro, P., Huber, M.E. 2005. Marine biology. 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill. 451p.
This college-level classroom text provides an overview of oceanography, marine organisms, marine ecology, and human relationships with the ocean. Microbes are described in detail in one chapter but are again discussed in the context of different marine ecosystems. Prokaryotes and eukaryotes are detailed with descriptions of their varied metabolic reactions. Relationships of microbes to other organisms through symbiosis are highlighted as well as concerns of humans through plankton and microbial blooms. The text also emphasizes how understudied marine microbes are due to research interests and the difficult of studying fragile organisms at sea. As a recent publication by qualified marine researchers and teachers, Castro and Huber, with extensive academic review, the information is current and valid. The source provides an excellent overview for the advanced beginner including glossary and appendices, but requires knowledge of basic biology and chemistry.
Identifying valid sources:

  • Look for the author’s credentials. Are they a person who has a documented knowledge of science?

  • When was the source created? Could research since that time have changed the information included in your source? If so, look for more recent works that give you the same (or different) information.

  • What type of source is this – popular, journal, web?

  • The depth and level of detail offered in the source. It should be appropriate to your level of understanding but use relevant vocabulary and cite research to support its information.

To be considered for grading using the rubric, the assignment must meet the basic assignment guidelines (seven citations with annotations, typed and double spaced).

Rubric: Annotated Bibliography







Quality of Sources

All sources demonstrate careful consideration of scientific validity and sources do not repeat same information

Several sources are credible but others are not current or have questionable validity

Sources meet guidelines for types selected but there is no consideration of validity

Sources do not meet guidelines for types of sources used


Includes the complete and accurate bibliographic citation for each source and is organized according to citation method used

Makes 1-5 errors on citations.

Makes 6-10 errors on citations.

Makes more than 10 errors on citations.

Annotations Content

Summaries are accurate, evaluation addresses validity of source and usefulness for assignment is included for every source

One component of the annotation is missing or very limited in several citations

One component of the annotation is missing in many citations

Little or no information specific to the source is included

Annotations Structure

Well-written, unique to the source, avoids vague statements. Appropriate length.

Well written but contain some generic statements OR not appropriate length.

Poorly written, many generic statements, too short

Annotations are missing or are not coherent.

Overall Quality

Bibliography could be used to generate a comprehensive research paper with excellent sources.

Bibliography provides sources to create a paper on the topic but is missing some key information

Sources miss key topics required by presentation assignment

Sources used would not create an informative paper


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