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01_homework_2 - ESM 260 Applied Marine Ecology(Winter 2008...

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ESM 260 - Applied Marine Ecology (Winter 2008) Homework Assignment 2: Hypothesis Formulation Due: Wednesday, 30 January Now that you have identified certain patterns in the data of marine organisms in the lagoons of Rarotonga and Aitutaki, the second step in the scientific process is to develop alternative explanations for those patterns. Thus, for each ecological pattern of interest, you need to formulate specific but alternative hypotheses that could account for the observed pattern. There are 2 kinds of ‘differences’ in the abundance patterns for some of the organisms in the Cook Islands: spatial differences (i.e., between the 2 lagoons) and temporal differences (i.e., a change in the abundance of a population in 1 or both lagoons between 1980 and 2004). The set of hypotheses to explain one of these differences needs to be sufficiently specific to provide insight: postulating, for example, that a change in abundance of a species from 1980 to 2004 resulted from ‘a change in the environment of the Rarotongan Lagoon’ is far too vague to help develop useful understanding. A hypothesis should include (1) a statement as to the nature of the possible change in the environment, (2) how that change may have influenced the demographic rate(s) of
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