Artificial Selection Experiment Report


The goal of this assignment is for you to write a report detailing the bacteria artificial selection

experiment you performed in class. This report should be written as though for a scientific

audience who is unfamiliar with your experiment, and it must be structured like a primary

research article written for a peer-reviewed journal. See Appendix F of your lab manual for

additional guidance on this format.

You may work either alone or in a group of two. Anyone who wants to work in a larger group

must first get permission from their TA. You may not work with students enrolled in other

sections of this course.


Write your report in paragraphs, using 12-point font (preferably Times New Roman), 1-inch

margins, and whatever line spacing you prefer to use. This assignment has a maximum length

of 4 pages not including references. The goal of a research article is to thoroughly but concisely

describe and discuss an experiment. Your focus should be on choosing your words carefully

rather than trying to increase the length of your report by including irrelevant information or

using two sentences where one would suffice.

Divide your lab report into the sections described below and give each section a heading. Note

that for this assignment you are reporting an experiment you performed yourself. Use “we” or

“I” to reflect that. For example, instead of saying, “The hypothesis stated…,” or, “The zone of

inhibition was measured…, ” it’s preferable to say, “We hypothesized that…,” or, “We measured

the zone of inhibition…”

Your lab report is due at 11:59 p.m. on 5/1/19. At least one electronic submission with the

names of all contributing authors must be submitted to D2L before this deadline. Partner non-

participation will not be an acceptable excuse for late work. Do not include the names of non-

contributing classmates.

Report Sections

Title (10 pts): Create an informative title that makes the subject of your article clear to your

audience. Look at one of the research articles you read at another point in this course for

inspiration. Note that some article titles can be up to a full sentence long.

Abstract (10 pts): Provide a 100-200 word statement summarizing the study. State your study’s

purpose, hypothesis, a very general summary of your experiment, important results, and final

conclusion, all in that order. Do not report any actual data here. Once again, look at a research

article you’ve read previously if you aren’t sure how to begin.

Introduction (10 pts): Familiarize your audience with the background of your study by

introducing the concept of natural selection. Then, provide some basic information about your

ECOL 182L Artificial Selection Experiment Report Spring 2019

study organism to make it clear why that organism was used for this study. Finally, present your

experiment’s question, hypotheses, and predictions. You will fail to earn points on this section if

you confuse hypotheses and predictions, or if your hypotheses don’t meet the basic criteria for


Methods (10 pts): This section should get straight to the point. Provide enough details that a

person could replicate your experiment on their own, but make sure you leave out details that

would not probably not affect their results. For example, it probably does not matter where you

recorded your data. However, it probably does matter what kind of agar you used and how you

kept your agar plates from becoming contaminated. You must explain measurements and include

units. Do not use bullet points or copy directly from the lab manual.

Results (10 pts): Report the data collected during your experiment which you will use to

evaluate your hypothesis, but don’t try to explain the data yet. In paragraph form, state the actual

numbers that make up your data and any trends that you may have appeared. Do not forget to

include units.

Table/Figure (10 pts): Include a table or figure (or both) depending on which you feel makes

your results easiest to understand. You must create all of your own tables and figures, and each

must have its own title and a caption explaining it. Copying them directly from shared lab

spreadsheets will not earn you credit.

Discussion (10 pts): Briefly summarize again the purpose of the study, and then discuss what

your data means by directly addressing your predictions, and then whether you reject your

alternative hypothesis or your null hypothesis. Finish by describing what other authors have done

with similar experiments and whether they agree with your conclusions. If you think something

went wrong during your study, describe it here and how you would correct it in the future. If you

believe an unplanned occurrence may have affected your results, then you can discuss it here.

References (10 pts): All information coming from another source must be cited in-text using the

format in Appendix E. At least two primary research articles must be cited for full credit. In

addition to in-text citations, full citations formatted like in Appendix E must appear at the end of

your report under their own “References” heading. You are expected to summarize information

from outside sources in your own words. Directly quoting sources will result in reduced credit.

In addition to the sections described, your report will be graded based on the following.

Style (10 pts): Proofread your report so that spelling and grammars errors are minimal. Use

active voice and simple syntax such that your report reads as if it could be spoken aloud

comfortably. Your report should use 12-pt. font, 1 in. margins, section headings, and your text

should be divided into logical paragraphs. Total length should be ≤ 4 pages.

Taxonomy (10 pts): The first time a species is mentioned, you must use its full taxonomic

species name and format it correctly. If you put its common name in parentheses, you can later

refer to the species by that common name. Example: Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly).

ECOL 182L Artificial Selection Experiment Report Spring 2019

Alternatively, after using a full taxonomic name, you can later refer to the species with an

abbreviation like “D. melanogaster.”

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