Monday, April 11, 2011

Questions? Comments? Concerns? ???

I have many of those, especially questions that starts out with, "What the heck am I writing and how?" In brief (and frequent) moments of confusion, I ask myself that, especially when I'm beginning to carve out my outline and tentative final paper. Like I've said in the past, I find it hard to get started until I sit down and actually force myself to think about the topic at hand...but even then, I find myself at a loss for words. So, in the best possible way, I will try to translate my mumble-jumble of thoughts and ideas and translate them to a semi-understandable and logical way. Here is my still-and-must-be-continually-edited version of an abstract/summary:
There is a top-down control on arthropod communities by bird predation which leads to trophic cascades that affect shrub biomass. In doing bird exclosure experiments, we can determine whether removing these large predators on arthropods will affect the size and quantity of arthropods present on experimental shrubs and if this in turn, affects the amount of plant biomass. We expect there to be differences throughout the three types of experimental shrubs; the control, sham, and exclosed shrubs should contain the least to the most amount of arthropods, respectively. With this expectation, we will try and predict if the following are true: (P1) California sagebrush shrubs in bird exclosures contain higher amounts of larger arthropods (past a certain size), which causes trophic cascades; (P2) there is a higher new to old growth ratio on control shrubs than on shams and exclosures due to higher amounts of arthropod predation by birds. The absence or presence of birds may be used as an indication of how temporal variations of coastal sagebrush habitat are affected by fluctuating seasonal temperatures. It is important to understand how these tertiary consumers will impact trophic scales down to the plant level to see if changes in migratory patterns of these consumers would affect consumer and producer interactions within the community.
As of this moment, I am still trying to further flesh out and rewrite my thoughts and ideas, but for the most part, this may be my writing at its most coherent. The more difficult part of writing this was trying to figure out how I can have my readers understand why they should be interested...I'm still working on trying to find the "Wow!" factor. This is a painstakingly slow work in progress, but in the end, slow and steady wins the race (at least what we're taught to believe in Aesop's fables)? Go brain, think! And go fingers go! Write!

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