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Students Contributing to EOL
Under the direction of their instructors, undergraduate and graduate students can research and writing brief summaries or comprehensive descriptions for species on EOL.
The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL, www.eol.org ) is a global collaboration among scientists and the general public to make authoritative information and literature about all 1.9 million named species freely accessible online.
The EOL team has begun a focused effort to assemble rich content for taxa of particular public interest. We remain committed to bringing you information on all organisms, but need too our best to serve the information most in demand from our visitors as soon as possible.
EOL is reaching out to faculty about the opportunity of having undergraduate and graduate students research and synthesize information about species on EOL’s high priority taxa list and then chose one or more of the activities below. Faculty are responsible for reviewing student work.
The benefits of this activity for students include an opportunity to research and synthesize information to communicate science to the general public. Students, instructors and institutions receive attribution and recognition on the Encyclopedia of Life.
Tips for Instructors
Below are some suggestions to help organize this activity for faculty:
As the list of species on the content priority list is being updated regularly, please refer to the following collections on EOL. (See below). However, before you choose species, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your taxonomic interests and we can help you organize a list for you and your students to choose from. Another option is to give students a refined list of taxa and have them search on EOL to determine the need for information on a specific taxon page.
RedHotList Pending collection: http://eol.org/collections/10675
If you are planning to work on a page on this list, please put your name as an annotation so that others know it is already in progress.
RedHotList Completed collection: http://eol.org/collections/10667
Pages from the RedHot list that have been completed.
Brief Summary Contents
A brief overview of select aspects of taxon biology. Intended to be brief -- not more than 300 or 400 words -- and present highlights of the taxon to engage the reader.
Tiliqua gigas, commonly known as the giant blue-tongued skink, is best known for its bright blue tongue. It is a gray lizard about 31cm from the snout to the base of the tail and 55cm from the snout to the tip of the tail, with dark flanks and legs and lateral stripes. Its threat display, in which it opens its mouth wide to display its tongue and makes a loud hissing noise, is so striking that the Malay-speaking people of New Guinea called it “ular kaki ampat” or “snake with four legs” and feared for a long time that it was extremely venomous. In actuality, however, the lizard is fairly harmless - the most substantial documented medical danger of blue-tongued skink bites is secondary infection from bacteria living in the mouth. Tiliqua gigas is an omnivore and is often associated with human agricultural settlements. A broad diet and distinctive appearance have recently made this species and its relatives popular as pets (de Rooij 1915, Brongersma 1958, Broaddus 1994, Gorseman 1998, Dennert 2004). http://eol.org/pages/790463/overview
A comprehensive description of the characteristics of the taxon (including all aspects of biology, not just physical descriptions). Used primarily when many of the subject categories are treated together in one object, but at length. Not more than 500 words in length.
The chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius, is widely viewed as among the most desirable of edible mushrooms. It is found singly, scattered, in groups, or sometimes clustered on the ground in woods. Its flesh is thick, firm, and white, with an odor that may be fragrant like apricots (or not distinctive) and a taste that may be peppery (or not distinctive). (Bessette et al. 1997) Cantharellus cibarius has been reported from North America, Europe, North Africa, the Himalayas, and Thailand, but there is considerable evidence that this nominal species actually includes multiple distinct cryptic species (see Taxonomy and Systematics section below). (Feibelman et al. 1997; Pilz et al. 2003)Members of the Cantharellus cibarius complex occur throughout the north temperate zone. In northern California and the Pacific Northwest they grow mainly with conifers, but along the Central California coast, they are often associated with live oaks, especially at pasture edges. On the west coast of the Unites States these mushrooms appear in cool weather and are often large and thick-stemmed (half kilo specimens are not uncommon), with an orange cap, faintly fruity odor, and pale, copiously veined gills (although a smaller, slimmer, cleaner form grows under Sitka Spruce). In eastern North America they are most common in the summer and are usually much smaller (caps typically 3 to 6 cm across) and often yellower, with a slender, well developed stalk and little or no odor. A number of other fungi, including several Cantharellus species and some poisonous species, can be confused with C. cibarius. (Arora 1986). http://eol.org/data_objects/11290305
Individual Topics or Full Taxon Pages
As an alternate activity, students can focus on individual topics for species such as habitat, conservation, evolution, morphology or ecology, or they can work on a more complete taxon page including multiple topics. Lengths may vary. See http://eol.org/info/writing_eol_chapters for more information about each topic/section.
Tivela stultorum is subject to predation from a variety of species including: humans, sea otters, moon snails, gulls, sharks, rock crabs, rays and a variety of surf fishes. The clam is also host to several parasitic species including polychaete worms, which drill a very characteristic hole through the shell, larval cestodes, which are known to impair its sexual development, and trematodes. Finally, Tivela stultorum is part of several commensal relationships, primarily with hydroids that are often found on the exterior of the clam's shell and more rarely with pea crabs which take up residence in the mantle cavity (Pattinson, 2001: 136).http://eol.org/data_objects/17255764
In addition to text, students may also contribute image of taxa. All contributed images must be shared under a Creative Commons License. If a student choses to share a image for which they are not the rights holder, the image can be reused only if it is licensed under Creative Commons for reuse or Public Domain.
We suggest that students use primary resources such as journals and databases for their research. Many journal articles are now available through Google Scholar. Check with your school library for access information.
For writing support every substantive statement with a citation from the literature in the form of: author, year: page number. All of these references must appear in the Reference section. We suggest you use inline citations whenever possible. EOL does not have a standard reference format, however you can find tips for references here.
It is the instructor's responsibility to conduct the final review and vetting of students work to assess whether or not it should be published to EOL. In addition to double-checking the facts and references, judge the writing style, grammar and spelling.
Publishing to EOL
Add text directly to EOL species page:
This option works well for students contributing content as part of an independent project.
Students work on their writing off-line. Review and vetting is also done off-line. When ready, writing and references can be uploaded directly to the EOL species page. To add text, students must create an EOL login.
Use an Education LifeDesk: http://www.edulifedesks.org/
This option works well for classes.
LifeDesks provide a simple environment to organize the writing and review of content written at the species or other taxonomic level. Instructors can customize the species pages template to include just the topics they would like their students to work on Instructors serve as reviewers/curators of the student generated content.
To publish to EOL, your class’s Education LifeDesk will become a content partner with EOL. When you join EOL as a member, you can initiate a content partnership in the Content partners tab of your PROFILE. Follow the add new content partner link and follow the directions for sharing content with EOL. To learn more about what kinds of information EOL is looking for and what you need to do to make your data/content available refer to EOL Content Partners: Getting Started.
EOL is reaching out to faculty that teach higher level courses about an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to research, synthesize and write species overviews for the general public. Students, instructors and institutions receive attribution and recognition on the Encyclopedia of Life.