Writing workshops

Optional, but if you are interested, I would to offer the following ‘writing workshop’ or tutorial model to address any tangible advice associated with the long-answer, open-book, problem solving questions.

The first ten are on the website now. I will provide another ten. Then, on test day Friday Nov25th, I will provide you with 5 only from that list. So, you will have all the questions in advance.
Also, we can spend some of the time if you need clarification on your previous responses.  However, please do check the detailed breakdown of the 4 and 6 point categories.  This really helped me focus in reading them.
Workshop 1.
Thursday Nov 17th, 1-3pm.
FS201 (Farqhuson Bldg, room 201)
Workshop 2.
Friday Nov 18th, in-class from 1030-1120am.
Workshop 3.
Friday Nov 25th, in-class on test day.
Similar to part 2 of the first test, I will stay in class until everyone has a clear vision of what the question is asking.
Workshop 4.
I may add one more workshop if people would like it.
Likely on Thursday Nov 24th from 11am to 1pm. Let me know if you need it.

Updates announced in class today


  1. Lab reports due Monday, Nov 21st at 9am (submit to your teaching assistant via turnitin.com).
  2. Open notebook, solve two problems (test #2) due Nov 26th at 11:59pm (submit via turnitin.com to Malcolm Glennie like you did for test 1 please).

Turnitin is now updated. Woot woot.

Test #2

A total of 5 questions provided on test day.
Same as test #1. YOU select two, write them up, and submit turnitin.com.
Rubric is explain and solve similar to what we discussed today.
All potential test questions provided here in advance under tab entitled ‘Test Qs’.


  1. I will organize a writing workshop, i.e. similar to drop-in office hours, to help with long-answer problem solving and writing.
  2. I will also stay in the classroom on long-answer test day and do the same in case you are busy before then.
  3. If you are having any problems or issues with statistics, please do let the lab admin and your teaching assistant know via email. They are all excellent at statistics and R, and they can also provide office hours as needed.


I am am also really keen to try out the data too for patterns. I will do a blog post to this effect with a link to my take on the statistics. Do not hesitate to email your teaching assistant for any confirmation of issues however as they mark the lab reports.

Guidance and improvements for next test

hi fellow ecologists,

I have a had a few emails asking how to learn from test and improve. Thank you for asking.  Absolutely, next week I will put together materials to help us improve for next test and learn from this one. I want to do this for everyone as class.

  1. Nov 11th lecture I will bring correct responses for multiple choice and also the detailed marking key for long-answer questions.
  2. I have some great critical thinking materials for long-answers, and we will explore that together too.
  3. Next test has no multiple choice, and we scored higher on long answers.
  4. Long answers and problem solving explanations are SUPER practical for both upper-year courses where there is no multiple choice and also for life and professional skills.
  5. As stated, I want to apply a 2% bump to the scantron scores (four free correct questions), but I will explain how this works in class on Nov 11th and how I will know if I allowed to do it.



Test 1 feedback

Here is a very detailed quantitative report of all the elements of your first test in ecology done in R.


There are also tables in the report to look up your scoring for each phase of the test. There are two interactive scatterplots you can roll over to see where you values lie within the class.

Please read all the way to the bottom for the conclusions. I tested whether I could add 2% (or 4 free correct questions) to your scantron scores, and it looks like I can.  I would need to wait until the end of the course however.  Read all details in the report please.

Note: You scored much higher on long-answer questions, and the next test is only this format.

Here is some feedback on the long-answers from this test as well.

ID comments
34717 Q4 comment on how viable BAU is from an ecological perspective. Q2 you needed to explain how to test SGH for indirect interaction such as removing or adding a third species on a gradient
65476 Q3 good coverage of ecological concepts but specifics of planning could be improved
47547 Q1 correct on application just needed to explain niche in more detail
14500 Q3 even planting of different species are a good idea but needed to link to ideas in bold a bit more clearly. I took the two highest and dropped Q4
50063 Q4 needed to link solutions to BAU and ecology
07158 Q2 needed to explain how to test it for indirect interactions.
19423 Q2 creative answer and for testing you need to do addition and removal similar to direct interactions but use the third species too
30675 Q4 solutions were ok but had to link to the BAU a bit better.
23785 Q2 needed to provide an experiment such as plug and play of adding or removing a third species
20179 Q4 needs to be linked more to ecological principles and solutions better explained.
10646 over page limits. Q4 needed to link BAU to ecology and comment on viability
27460 Q3 is good but could have linked to a more specific recommendation or set of for the park
21146 Q4 does the BAU model address ecology well enough or will it work in time from what we know about the ecology of the planet
20701 Q3 solutions are good but needed to link to concepts in course. Q4 same you did not link to the question about BAU
55707 Q3 good ecology but needed to give them a set of clear recommendations on how to manage for best ecological function
72782 Q5 management suggestions are correct but need to link to ecology more directly and have a more tangible plant versus insect recommendation for the university.
96825 needed a better plan for Downsview
71146 Q5 provide a specific set of suggestions to the university
28425 Q1 needed to explain how cheat changed the realized niche
34910 Q2 needed to propose an experimental method to test such as plug and play and remove the third species
36693 Q4 link BAU consquences to ecological principles
41862 Q1, needed to explain vioation in terms of niche theory, Q2 did not explain how you would test for indirect interactions and stress specifically, change stress and change the third species and see how net outcomes change
01307 Q1 confusing and needed to link specific recommendations to those ecological principles
70101 Q2 explain in your experiment that you remove third species to test indirect versus direct interactions
42525 Q3 summary good but needed to provide the park with tangible and actionable advice
18526 Q3, solutions are good, Q2, nanny good idea but indirect interactions involve three species but I guess you mean nanny to kids, a bit confusing but I like the analogy
02907 Q1 good application but needed to explain niche more thoroughly
11672 Good concept coverage but could have made the application more specific in each instance such as how the BAU and ecology interact
94781 Q4 need to examine BAU viability
05000 Q2 needed to explain how to test explicitly such as stating you must add or remove third species and Q4 linke BAU to ecology directly
68283 Q3 good concepts but besides recommendations on how to sample you needed to provide a management recommendation specifically
21016 not enough focus on a logical solution set in each Q
86777 Q3 good explanation and need to have specific design recommendations to those principles
80881 Q1 need to explain how VW cheated on realized niche. Q2 explain how to test with an experiment such as plug and play
55130 Q3 good recommendations just needed to link to the definitions a bit better
94653 Q3 background good but needed to provide them with a real plan
44295 Q4 – comment viability of solutions too, not bad, but needed a bigger picture on how to use ecology to temper some of those solutions
31364 Q3 concepts are well described but recommendations are not clear enough or specific. Q4 needed a lot more detail
68944 Q2 what species would you remove the third one plus propose a specific experiment
34903 Q3 recommendations to park could be improved
95116 Q2 concepts great, experiment has to be linked to indirect interactions involving three species though and it is a bit confusing, nice analogy to Korra!! love that
48669 Q1 good application. Q2 just had to lay out the experimental design for three species more clearly to decouple direct from indirect interactions within the network
85854 Q4 solutions needed to be linked to BAU not just little things people can do.
05375 Q1 explain they cheated on realized niche
09112 Q1 invoked tradeoffs and state fundamental versus realized niche
84438 Q2 needed a specific experiment Q5 needed more detail and recommendations
93825 Q1 car as species and niche of each is correct but just needed to explain more clearly
85573 Q2 indirect is not a third factor but a third species Q1 needed to apply niche to different kinds of cars and thatr VW cheated to make niche seem bigger than it is
95095 Q3 specific recommendations needed for the park
09456 Q2 needed to link principles from ecology to BAU
07976 Q4 BAU needed to be linked to the ecological principles
72179 Q5 curves could be explained more clearly
24851 Q2, indirect interactions involve three species
68326 Q3, did not link to ecology. Q4 solutions are ok but did not link to BAU
81762 Q2 was not clear how you test for indirect versus direct interactions
05173 Q3 summary good but needed to provide a specific plan
12906 Q3 needed to have a specific recommendation for the park or a plan
43194 Q4 comment in viability at a global scale of BAU and ecological principles
86373 Q4 BAU linked to ecology is needed. Q2 confusing and needed to provide an experiment such as plug and play and remove a third species on a gradient
21097 Q2 experiment was unclear in that you need to state you remove third species to compare direct and indirect interactions on a gradient
46939 Q3 link to ecology more clearly. Q4 solutions are correct but not linked to BAU.
31814 Q3 good concepts but need to provide a specific recommendation
99763 Q1 need to explain that realized niche was violated. Q2 needed to explain how to test for indirect interactions on gradients by removing the third species
03953 Q3. bit more focus on using ecology explicitly to plan a park and ecological rationale for design
53035 Q1 excellent link to niche concept violation
31078 Q2 more detail needed in concepts and experimental design. Q4 link to BAU missing
17987 Q3 needed to explain fundamental versus realized and the concepts of tradeoffs in that one species cannot be everything
48264 Q3 needed to be make specific recommendations from the ecological ideas listed in bold.
85318 Q1 explain how hey violated the realized niche
10568 Q2 explain how you remove third species to differentiate between direct and indirect interactions between a set of species
35268 Q4 needed to link ecology to the BAU
18366 Q1 good description just needed to link to niche more directly
28552 Q2 experiment needed to include adding or removing the third species like the deer in your example or measuring them on a gradient with and without the tree species
72964 Q4 excellent concepts summarized just needed to make the link between concepts and BAU a but more directly int terms of viability
56656 Q1 needed to better link of car cheat code to type of car such as fuel efficient and powerful in that you cannot be both. Q4 I did not understand you interpretation of how eccology links to the BAU
89700 Q4 summary great but needed to explore viability of BAU from an ecological perspective
90985 Q3 solutions are good.
99093 Q1 nice ideas on niche types. needed to explain that the realized niche was only possible via a cheat code and that a single car or species cannot be good at everything such as trade-offs
38559 Q2 link to indirect interactions better and less focus on direct and also explain how to test more clearly. Q5 needed more active management for the campus besides sampling
90846 Q1 needed to link car to niche and general rules of how a system works in that you cannot both have fundamental and realized be exact the same AND that they were selling both fuel efficient and power
73434 Q4 good description of concepts but needed to commment on viability of solutions
98782 Q4 summary is good but need to comment on BAU viability from an ecological perspective
53106 Q4 solutions are great. well done.
74864 Q4 you are ok on summary but explanation of whether BAU will work from an ecological perspective was needed
35964 Q4 needed to evaluate BAU
48295 Q4, solutions you list need to be linked to ecology and also the BAU. Q1 excellent linkages
87389 Q1 good but needed to state realized niche versus fundamental from ecology lectures
45094 Q3 need specific recomendations that were linked to ecological principles
93681 Q2 unclear how this experiment would test direct from indirect interactions and also on a gradient. More detail also needed for SGH
60191 Q3 more specific recommendations needed
10995 Q4 anthropocene description unclear but solutions are accurate
61376 Q3 invasive species do need to be managed. just needed to link to the ecological ideas in bold from question more clearly to provide the park with concrete recommendations.
96060 Q4 BAU viability from an ecological perspective need to be explained
43830 Q4 link between ecology and recommendation better articulated
72995 Q5 yes sampling and educating are great. Specific recommendations to the university are needed though given what you found for plants and insect
21166 no clear plan for Downsview. also not linked to what your learned enough.
32240 Q5 in addition to sampling what would you recommend for the unverisity to manage for higher diversity. No second answer provided
82507 instructions were single-spaced and single page per answer. Q5 you mention basic concepts but need to make specific recommendations based on those principles
93389 Q2 good example of indirect interactions
17398 single-spaced text please as per instructions. Q1 needed to explain they violated the realized niche
60377 Q1 need to link to niche. No second answer provided in the single document
80563 over page limit (no penalty but please ensure it fits next time). Q4 good job.
54602 Q1, yes, true but needed to explain fundamental versus realized
34307 Q2 more detail needed and better explanation of how to test with an experiment
60948 great answer for Q4, comment on viablility of BAU even more broadly applied
68523 Q3 specific recommendations needed to promote biodiversity
79772 Q2 indirect interactions include a third species and the experiment is that you add or remove that species. I see you bacteria listed but the design is confusing
58588 not called holocene but anthropocene, solutions ok but need to link to business more directly
37637 Q3 general suggestions are good could be linked to ecological theory more directly
23249 Q4 good call on viablity assessment. Q3 concepts well explained but not linked to a plan
72116 Q3 more detail needed. Q4 same you needed to link to what we read and discussed in class please and also discuss BAU and ecology
60862 Q3 recomendation coiuld be more linked to the ecological principles and the ecological ideas more clearly explained in a bit more detail
44698 Q1 needed to apply niche to species of cars. you are correct on ecological implications but this was not the question Q2 need to explain that you remove the third species to test for indirect interactions and also a gradient
20857 Q1 needed to explain niche more clearly and how VW cheated to change realized niche
80794 Q3, needed to provide them a plan to mitigate or address some of the ecology you explainged
09088 Q4 solutions are all good just needed to link them to ecology a bit more
96601 Q4 needed to link the ecology to the BAU
55757 Q2 good job and explained you need C or three species.
36624 Q1 you are correct on consequences for sure but needed to link to niche such as fundamental and realized hard to be the same and the cheat code allowed them to market a car that had it all and it did not
70427 needed more focus on the practical solutions but descriptions of ecology concepts was good
83240 Q1 the penalty idea is cool and I liked that idea. However it was supposed to be linked to the niche concept not cheaters. Cool though.
57077 Q2 comment on viability of BAU from an ecological perspective such as is it good enough and fast enough to make a difference or save species
44009 Q2 needed explicit plan or recommendations, also instructions clearly stated one page, single-spaced text
65535 Q1 needed additional explanation. Q4 needed to discuss BAU and link directly to ecology
08932 Q1 needed to explain niche better, application was good. Q2 scored higher than Q4 SO USED THAT.
64841 Q2 explain how to test SGH with indirect interactions more clearly and was supposed to be single-spaced too
73525 Q4 good summary
99564 Q3, good but need to providfe them with a specific plan or at least recommendations
14969 Q4 need to talk about more than just limits but also rewards too and consider a maxim
40597 Good answers just make recommendations a bit more specific in Q5
82342 Q1 you are absolutely correct on consequences however you needed to link violation to the concept of niche specifically realized
24331 Q4 needed to discuss BAU and viability and link to ecology
95406 Q4 did not fully explain how to test indirect interactions with three species ensuring you decouple direct from indirect interactions
20745 Q4 good solutions and good link to ecology
82352 Q1 needed to invoke specific ecological principles in bold in question and also link to BAU