The entomology blog-post assignment

This is the assignment I handed out for the blog-post assignment. You are welcome to use it, adapt it, etc; please consider it released to public domain.

Biology 3883: Entomology           Assignment #4              15 pts

Blog Post Assignment: An Arthropod of Conservation Concern in Canada

Due: (date specified) online

Entomology tends to focus on species that are a detriment to human activity. These include forest and agricultural pests (i.e spruce budworm, Colorado potato beetle), vectors of disease (i.e. mosquitos, ticks), or other irritants (i.e. bedbugs, lice). Considerably less attention is paid to the species impacted by human related activities. One exception might seem to be the considerable effort that’s been spent lately researching declines in honeybees – but this too is motivated by our own interests, as we depend on honeybees for their pollination services.

The primary purpose of this assignment is for you to learn about an arthropod of conservation concern in Canada and to share information about its natural history and potential reasons for its decline. There are 61 arthropods currently listed as species of Special Concern, Threatened, Extirpated, or Endangered by Canada’s Species at Risk Act. The secondary purpose of this assignment is for you to practice writing in a less traditional form, specifically to write a blog post. Scientific communication is not confined to reports, academic journals or books; although those formats represent the primary literature. Some of the most important scientific communications are those that reach beyond other scientists, to the general public. You will write the blog post and make it available on our private course blog, visible to other students in the class. If your post is suitable and if you wish, we will reblog it on a publicly available site. However, public reblogging is not required and your decision on this will not influence your mark.

Choose any arthropod from the Species at Risk Act (SARA) registry of species at https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/search/SpeciesSearch_e.cfm, selecting ‘Arthropods’ and ‘Special Concern’, ‘Threatened’, ‘Extirpated’, and ‘Endangered’. Alternatively, if you are aware of another arthropod which should be of conservation concern in Canada but does not appear on the SARA registry, you can justify to Steve why you will write about this un-listed arthropod. In your blog post, be sure to cover at least the following:

The full scientific name of your arthropod, and to which family and order it belongs (1 pt)

  • The SARA status of your arthropod, and what this status means (2 pts)
  • Details of the biology, ecology, habitat and natural history of your arthropod (6 pts)
  • Details as to possible factors that contribute to this species’ becoming listed on SARA (4 pts)
  • At least one plausible action society could take to help ease the threat to your chosen species (2 pts)

Your assignment should be 500-800 words and include 1-4 images (be sure to provide full credit for any images you use!), as well as references. You may also use hypertext links to provide readers with additional information, but sites you link to should provide scientifically reliable information. Ask us if in doubt!

Only one person can write about a given arthropod; first come, first served. Please sign up for your choice outside Steve’s office.


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To the extent possible under law, Stephen Heard has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work. This work is published from: Canada.