26 April 2015

Essays and presentations

The joys of teaching! You would think that when you teach the knowledge moves from you to the student. Often it's the other way around! I had eight students who I had to get ready for writing an essay on a topic from a very extensive and eclectic list, and give a presentation about it. And you get an arbitrary selection; there is no matching of your expertise with their topics. So I ended up with:

Discuss the evolution of flight in vertebrates.
Discuss the factors that may be driving the evolution of a wide diversity of colour phenotypes in poison dart frogs of the family Dendrobatidae.
Gaia: Has life on Earth regulated the planet’s climate?
Effects of offshore wind farms on the marine environment: potential for detrimental implications to marine mammals.
Will loss of fish biodiversity cause a reduction in fish catches?
Why and how do the temperate worm species such as the genus Sabellaria form reefs?
(Only 6 topics, I know; one was chosen twice, and one student is not engaging and has not revealed what topic he'll tackle, if any.)

File:Sabellaria alveolata reef.jpg
A Sabellaria reef structure

A poison dart frog

Do I know much about these topics? Well, I've read some of Gaia books, but that's about it. So I have to read up on these topics quite seriously to be able to mark the essays. It's great fun! Bring on the frogs, the worms, the flying vertebrates! Don't I have a great job.

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