Filed Under (SW11) by Sandra on 09-11-2010

To prepare for our class discussion on Wednesday, please do the following:

  • Read Delaney et al. 2008
  • As a form of “pre-writing” for citizen science paper, please write on the course blog:
    • A summary/ brief commentary of Delaney et al. 2008 OR
    • A summary/ brief commentary of a similar study.  Some examples cited by Delaney et al. (2008) include Darwall and Dulvy 1996, Fore et al. 2001, Boudreau and Yan 2004 OR
    • A paragraph or two on how citizen science is used for your lit. review topic (similar to the informal writing I asked you to do for last week)
    • Comment on a classmate’s post.
Filed Under (SW9) by Sandra on 20-10-2010

By this point in the semester you should have (I hope!) a working knowledge of the three Goals of Writing 20:

  1. Engage with the work of others
  2. Articulate a position
  3. Situate writing in specific contexts

Deliberations, Duke’s publication of first-year writing, illustrates the diverse ways in which students work toward these goals.  But you may also notice some similarities in the “writerly moves” made by these student authors and yourself, even among writing projects in very different disciplines.  For this short (~500 word) assignment, I’d like you to do the following:

  1. Reading:
    1. Read the Deliberations Forward (“Revision”).
    2. Skim through the 10 articles and select 1-2 that interest you the most.
    3. Read those 1-2 articles carefully and actively, perhaps underlining and making notes in the margins.  Think about the Writing 20 Goals as you read – how have the student authors used the work of others?  Articulated their position?  Situated their writing in the contexts of both Deliberations and their respective discipline?  Decide what you find particularly striking – perhaps the way the author uses images, how an unusual style or tone makes their position especially effective, how they open the piece to draw the reader in, how they organize and present supporting evidence, etc.
    4. If you attend the Deliberations symposium, the conversations between the student authors and their professors may also help you identify specific ways that the students worked toward the Writing 20 Goals.
  2. Writing (on the WordPress blog):
    1. Briefly summarize the chosen article(s).  Then, describe those aspects that you identified in (c) and (d) above.
    2. Compare those “writerly moves” to your own literature review.  What similarities do you see among all types of academic writing?  What techniques do you use in your literature review that would be inappropriate in the chosen Deliberations articles or vice versa?
    3. Title your post and assign to the SW9 category
    4. Comment on at least one other peer’s post (perhaps someone noticed the same aspects you did, had a different take on our literature review assignment, etc.)

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this assignment is to encourage you to consider how the Writing 20 Goals and Practices may be relevant beyond Aquatic Invasive Species.  Even though our class writing is situated in the natural sciences, you may recognize ways that Writing 20 will be applicable to your courses in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and other disciplines at Duke.

Filed Under (SW7) by Sandra on 08-10-2010

Combative, militaristic rhetoric is prevalent in both scholarly and non-scholarly literature on invasive species. Larson (2005) argues that such rhetoric can be counterproductive when addressing the problem of invasive species. For this blog post, I would like you to read Larson (2005) and then do the following:

1. Find a passage from an invasive species text in which the writer uses rhetoric that could be characterized as “militaristic”. The text may be published (e.g., one of our class readings or a reading you came across in your research) or unpublished (e.g., one of your previous blog posts, a classmate’s blog post).

2. Your blog post should begin with a short summary of Larson’s argument, followed by an introduction of the example you found that illustrates Larson’s premise. You should give the direct quotation (something I’ve asked you to avoid in your lit review!) of the militaristic rhetoric you found. If necessary, explain the context for this quote. Cite the passage using the same style as for the lit review (Name Year). Then, give your position on Larson’s argument. Do you agree that such militaristic metaphors are “problematic” and “ineffective” when writing about invasive species? Provide the full reference at the end of the post or, if appropriate, a link to the blog post. There are no word limits (min or max).

3. Comment on at least one classmate’s post.

Larson, B. M. H. 2005. The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3: 495-500.

Filed Under (SW3) by Sandra on 11-09-2010

Writing 20

The Billion Dollar Problem of Aquatic Invasive Species

Fall 2010  SW3:  Water Hyacinth and Biocontrol

Due Mon Sept. 13 before midnight to the WordPress blog

The purpose of this short writing project is to introduce you to reading, analyzing, and writing about scholarly scientific literature.  In the “Invaders” episode of the documentary series “Strange Days on Planet Earth” we were introduced to the Lake Victoria water hyacinth problem.  Keep in mind that this episode originally aired in April 2005.  Since then, several peer-reviewed, scientific articles have been published on this issue including a short communication by Wilson et al. (2007) and a reply to that communication by Williams et al. (2007).  These articles, both published in the journal Aquatic Botany, are two of the most recent scholarly papers on the Lake Victoria water hyacinth invasion.  While these papers were in press, however, the water hyacinth invasion returned (NASA Earth Observatory  2007).

For this assignment, carefully read both Aquatic Botany articles, as well as the Earth Observatory web article.  Consider the arguments for and against the efficacy of water hyacinth biocontrol in Lake Victoria.  Then, please write a 400 word (maximum) commentary on water hyacinth in Lake Victoria and the roles of biocontrol and other factors (e.g., El Niño).  In your commentary, first explain the biocontrol debate, including a brief description of the evidence used by each side to support their assertion (once again, keep in mind that the scholarly articles were written before the water hyacinth returned).  Then, begin to bring your voice into the commentary:  do Wilson et al. (2007) or Williams et al. (2007) provide a more convincing story with the data?  In light of MODIS satellite images, what can be said about biocontrol of water hyacinth in particular or biocontrol in general?

The targeted readership for this commentary should be a broad audience interested in scientific issues (for example, pretend that this brief commentary will appear in Scientific American).  Aim for a style and tone similar to those used in the Aquatic Botany articles (Williams et al.  2007, Wilson et al.  2007).  It is appropriate to use the first person; however, reserve first person use for near the end of the commentary.  Think of it as if you need to “earn the privilege” of using the first person by first carefully describing the issue so that your reader takes you seriously and considers you knowledgeable.  Please reference the three sources throughout your commentary in the same way I have referenced them here in this assignment prompt.  Lastly, please comment on a peer’s post to receive full credit.


NASA Earth Observatory.  2007.  Water Hyacinth Re-invades Lake Victoria.  Viewed 20 Jan 2010.

Williams, A. E., R. E. Hecky, and H. C. Duthie. 2007. Water hyacinth decline across Lake Victoria – Was it caused by climatic perturbation or biological control? A reply. Aquatic Botany 87:94-96.

Wilson, J. R. U., O. Ajuonu, T. D. Center, M. P. Hill, M. H. Julien, F. F. Katagira, P. Neuenschwander, S. W. Njoka, J. Ogwang, R. H. Reeder, and T. Van. 2007. The decline of water hyacinth on Lake Victoria was due to biological control by Neochetina spp. Aquatic Botany 87:90-93.

Filed Under (SW2) by Sandra on 06-09-2010

Writing 20

The Billion Dollar Problem of Aquatic Invasive Species

Fall 2010  SW2:  Response to “Strange Days on Planet Earth”

DUE: Fri 9/10 before class

Please post a brief (~300-500 word) response to the film on the WordPress blog.  Your “response” can be structured as one of the following:

Option 1:  Movie Review

Write a short review of the film.  The primary purpose of a movie review is to tell a general audience what the film is about, but film critics often use their reviews as “a means to voice [their] political, social, or moral” opinions (  You may also wish to comment on how well you think the film was made.  Did the film adequately portray the range of impacts that invasive species can have on ecosystems and society in general?

— OR —

Option 2:  Commentary

Write a brief commentary, similar to SW1, on Jim Carlton’s work, the termite problem, the Miconia invasion, or the invasion-extinction connections highlighted by the film (we’re saving the water hyacinth problem for SW3, so please focus on a different issue from the episode).  The film’s website may be helpful:

Suggested structure:  a short summary of the issue, followed by how the investigators approached the problem, and your assessment of their approach (e.g., does it appear sustainable, do you question how the situation has changed since the movie was made, etc.)

To receive full credit, please:

  • comment on at least one classmate’s post (at least 3 sentences)
  • provide references to any sources you use (if you use them – you do not need to reference the film)
  • give your blog post a brief but creative headline
  • categorize the blog entry as SW2 and add a couple descriptive and useful keywords

Some notes:

  • This film was released in April 2005.
  • As mentioned previously, pay attention to the water hyacinth problem because SW3 will involve an update of this issue.
Filed Under (SW1) by Sandra on 01-09-2010

Writing 20

The Billion Dollar Problem of Aquatic Invasive Species

Fall 2010  SW1:  Intro to AIS

DUE: Thurs 9/2 before midnight

The purpose of SW1 is simply to begin learning, thinking, and writing about aquatic invasive species (AIS).  Examining AIS in the popular media is a good place to start before we move on to scholarly literature.  Please complete the following:

  1. Read the four newspaper articles from class today (on Blackboard under “Readings”)
  2. Do a simple Google search of: (a) One or more of these AIS from class today AND/OR (b) AIS in your home country or state
  3. Please post to the WordPress blog a brief (2-3 paragraphs) commentary on the readings and/or your Google results.  This is a suggested structure for your commentary:
  • Brief summary of one or more current problems or impacts of one or more species (can focus on one or more aspects)
  • Your thoughts on the problem.
  • Questions you have, perhaps regarding the current scientific understanding of this species

To receive full credit, please comment on at least one classmate’s post AND provide hyperlinks to your sources.

To keep our blog organized (mostly for my benefit when I check to see if you’ve completed each assignment), please CATEGORIZE your post as “SW1”.  Also, please assign it 1-3 “tags” or keywords.