Instructions for posting, UPDATED!

Each week you will be responsible for submitting a set of discussion questions based on the upcoming class’s readings. Different students will be assigned to summarize the resulting discussion for different weeks. Both discussion questions and discussion summaries will be made available online as blog posts, categorized using the tags “discussion questions,” “discussion summaries,” and the week number. These categories are searchable via a menu on the right.

Discussion summaries are due one week after the class period. They should be an ~ 1 page blurb about the key points to emerge from discussion and highlight areas of consensus, controversy, and new insights into particular systems that we are studying. Be sure also to pointedly emphasize new thinking that emerges from cross-disciplinary communication.

Discussion questions will be due every Friday, starting with the discussion questions for Week 3 (due Feb 1). Discussion questions should be submitted as comments. By midday on Monday, I (or the discussion leader) will synthesize and post the set of unique discussion questions.

Suggested way to approach discussion questions: As you are reading, jot down questions as they enter your mind. Questions may be of the following types:

1) Questions of clarification
2) Critical questions
3) Questions about how the theory or topic might be applied to x environmental problem

You will find that you have many more questions for some articles than for others. There are no set requirements for the questions you submit, but aim for a diversity of question types, and try to pose questions in the second and third category every week.

Now, here’s how to go about posting on WordPress. First, make sure WordPress is installed on your computer by downloading it. Then, on the course webpage, at the bottom of the right sidebar, you should see a login box. Type your username and the course password into the box. A toolbar will appear at the top of your screen, which will allow you to select New>Post. Once you write your post, be sure to categorize it by checking the listed categories.

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Instructions for posting, UPDATED! — 1 Comment

  1. Week 3 discussion questions
    1. Are ecosystems with regular patterns ever considered heterogeneous?

    2. Would we find more or fewer patterns in environments with gradients? Are pattern formations only very relevant where biologically mediated resource concentrations or stress alleviation is important?

    3. Would we find more or fewer examples in benign conditions for scale dependent feedbacks? Would it be harder to detect the effect of inhibition at larger distances?

    4. Clarification questions: Can you explain power-law clustering of vegetation in arid ecosystems? Why is this short distance positive feedback showing long-distance negative feedback is important? Why do the observation of regular pattern formation and power-law clustering provide a strong indication of the “omnipresence” of spatial self-organization?

    5. How could changes in regular patterns indicate a loss or gain of resilience or resistance in real ecosystems? Examples beyond desertification? Would change detection (or change itself) in the ecosystem be influenced by whether it was benign (humid?) or stressed (arid)?