The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set G      The Introduction     The Pivot Point of the Paper   Challenges to Coherence   Exercise 1     Hand in Glove     Exercise 2      Final Page .

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OVERVIEW: The way to well-written science

How to do the Course


PART I: Paragraphs and Sentences

SET A: Paragraphs: The Maps Behind Them

SET B: Paragraphs: Using Maps to Meet Readers' Expectations

SET C: Paragraphs with Something Extra: Points and Tails

SET D: The Generic Section: Expectations and Maps as Blueprints

SET E: Scientific Sections: The Methods and Results

SET F: Scientific Sections: The Discussion

SET G : Scientific Sections: The Introduction

SET H : Sentences

SET I : The Paper as a Whole



PART II: The Paper and its Sections


SET 1: Argument Parts

SET 2: Indicator Words

SET 3: Refining Claims

SET 4: Locating Arguments in Prose

SET 5: Rationale's Essay Planner

SET 6: Evidence in Arguments: Basis Boxes

SET 7: Assessing

SET 8: More on Assessing

SET 9: Analysis Maps

SET 10: Assessing Again

Synthesis 1: Position-Early Paragraphs

Synthesis 2: Position-Final Paragraphs

Synthesis 3: Writing a Discussion I

Synthesis 4: Writing a Discussion II

Exercise 2

Follow the guidelines from the previous page (and included below) to create a "hand-in-glove" style of Introduction (with a Title) for the Discussion at the bottom of the page. Also read these extra instructions:

  1. Drag the image of the map onto the Rationale workspace from within Rationale's inline browser.
  2. Fill it in, on the Rationale workspace.
  3. Complete your text version of the Introduction in a Word Document.

"The map at the bottom shows a template for generating a three-paragraph Introduction fron the content of the Discussion. The four levels of questions (Research Area through to Research Objectives) are shown in bold. To use the template, you shold read through your Discussion, and replace:

"Problem X" with the Specific Research Question

All "Detail/s", and "Question/s" and "Approaches" with appropriate information from the Discussion

You should then write up a three paragraph Discussion using the following structure:"
















The Blue and Yellow Tree Frog (Dyscophus picobaricus), found only in the forests of the little known Indian Ocean island of Picobar, has been undergoing a steady population decline over the last decade. In this study we addressed the question of whether the population decline of this arboreal, strictly frugivorous frog is due to a decrease in the availability of fruits of Syzygium acuminatus or an increase in the presence of the frog predator, the Rat Snake, Ptyas mucosa. As detailed below, our results are consistent only with the floral hypothesis, first suggested by Singh and colleagues (2007), and we propose that management of this problem should therefore focus on control of the fungal infection of Syzygium acuminatus.

Fruits of Syzygium acuminatus are probably a major component of the diet of D. picobaricus

Our diet study, in which we tested the relative preference of D. picobaricus for all of the fruit types available to it in the forests of Picobar, strongly indicate the central importance of Syzygium acuminatus as a dietary resource. Of the 32 plant species tested, only the fruits of three were consumed at all by D. picobaricus, and the preference for Syzygium acuminatus was significantly higher than for either of the other two species. Also, the two other species are most commonly found on high ridges, and are quite rare in the valleys where D. picobaricus predominates. Our results support a previous observation of Syzygium acuminatus being an important dietary source for D. picobaricus (Singh et al., 2007), and argue against a significant role for fruits of other species, as suggested by Radhakrishnan (2007).

Rat snakes show no interest in D. picobaricus

The complete disinterest shown by the Rat Snake for D. picobaricus in our laboratory study strongly argues against the inclusion of the frog in the snake’s wild diet. Even when snakes had been starved for over two months, they never attempted to eat D. picobaricus, but would readily attack and eat frogs of other species. While we do not know the reason for the avoidance, the experiments with dummy plasticine frogs (coloured and non-coloured) suggests that the snakes are responding to the bright coloration of D. picobaricus. Singh (pers. comm.) reports anecdotal evidence of dogs dying after consumption of this frog.

Population density and body weight of D. picobaricus are not significantly lower in forests most affected by fungus

Based on the reported incidence of the fungal disease that attacks the fruit of  Syzygium acuminatus in the western forests (Mondol, 2003), we compared the population density, and adult snout-tail length, of the eastern and western subpopulations of D. picobaricus. These indicators of individual and population health probided inconclusive data. For both parameters there was a trend for lower values in the western forests, but the values were not significantly different from those of the eastern forests. We still think this is consistent with the floral hypothesis, however, because our casual observations of fruiting density of Syzygium acuminatus in the two forest areas did not suggest any great difference. It could be that the severity of infection in the eastern and western forests is more equal now than when it was last quantified five years ago (Mondol, 2003). Our sightings of many infected trees in both areas suggests that the extent of infection in the eastern forests has caught up with that in the west.


Overall our results are consistent with the idea that the population decline of D. picobaricus on the island of Picobar is linked to a drop in the availability of fruits of the highly preferred species, Syzygium acuminatus, and they argue strongly against any role for Rat Snake predation.  From a conservation viewpoint, the situation may now be more serious than thought, because there are indications that the eastern population of D. picobaricus, previously considered a stronghold for the species, may be as threatened by fruit-depletion as that of the west. Given that D. picobaricus has been listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (Singh et al., 2007), it is important that steps are now taken to restrict the fungal infection of Syzygium acuminatus, throughout Picobar. Frog species worldwide have been under threat for many years now, and we cannot afford any more extinctions.