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Barreleye Fish Earth Science Research Paper

Barreleye Fish Earth Science Research Paper

Here is a list of directions and potential topics for the research paper, which is 20% of your final grade.  The purpose of the scientific research paper is twofold: first, to introduce you to the method of preparing a research paper by processing information from different sources on a scientific topic, and secondly, to show some of the complexities of issues related to the earth sciences.   Hopefully our omnipresent modern culture has not yet diminished your natural curiosity with the planet that you call home.  Thus the overall idea of this paper is to teach you how the processes of just one small part of our planet works.

1)   The paper should be no less than 1,500 words.  Do not single or triple space.  A 1,500-word paper

is approximately 5-7 double-spaced pages, using 11-12 pitch font.  You may print your paper front and back to save paper. Always include a title page.

2)   Have your topic picked out by May 14, 2020; note the paper is due on June 8, 2020.  Fill

out the Research Paper Approval Form, and make sure I review it and return it to you.  Since the

papers will take about two weeks to grade, I welcome any that are turned in early (they receive 5 points

extra credit).  I gladly review rough drafts that are double-spaced and printed.  Students who turn in

rough drafts always do better.  Please use this option.

3)    It is up to you to select a topic.  Start reading now.  Look up the topic in the table of contents and

index of your textbook to get some general ideas.  Do some preliminary research in the library.

Ask a librarian for help. If you do not like your first choice, you have time to switch.  If you feel

uncertain about your topic, talk with me.

4) You must reference your paper within the text of your paper, as well as at the end in a bibliography section.  I will edit (but not assign a grade to) a paper that is not referenced correctly.  Use at least six (6) references for your paper, and use a parenthetical (e.g., Name, Date) style or a footnote style (1) within the text of your paper.  Splice (mixup) your references as you write your paper, and always synthesize what different references say about a subject. Scientific journals like Scientific American, Science, and Nature are examples of acceptable references.  For sources, use only textbooks or library books.  Internet sources are acceptable, but after clearing it with me first (there are many examples of junk science out there).  Print out your website address or email it to me, and provide a brief description of it, BEFORE submitting the paper.

5) Be sure to do your own work, that is, no plagiarism (copying).  Paraphrasing is perfectly acceptable.

No long quotations (and therefore no quotation marks) from your references.  In other words,         avoid exactly quoting references.  This is not a newspaper article; rather you are synthesizing

information from your different references into your own paper.

6) Avoid casual (colloquial) writing styles.  Do not include your personal opinions or experiences about your topic (e.g., last summer I took a vacation to the Bahamas with my best friend and saw all kinds of wild beaches).  I am interested in your personal opinions and experiences, but the purpose of a scientific research paper is to discuss the facts.  However, speculation on topics is fine (e.g., How successful is the model which predicts sea level rise due to global warming?)

7) Avoid contractions (i.e. don’t, won’t) and apostrophes.  Avoid the words ‘very’ and ‘like.’  Choose strong action verbs and avoid weak helping verbs (has, have been, are, is, was, being…).

8) I will evaluate the paper on the above requirements, correct for spelling and grammar, and go over them with you individually if necessary.  A grade will be assigned.  If you are dissatisfied with your grade, a rewrite can be done to raise your grade.

9) If the paper is late, there will be a letter grade reduction of 10 points.

10) A grade of an A+ = 100 points, A = 97 points, A- = 93 points, B+ = 89 points, B = 87 points, B- = 83 points, C+ = 79 points, C = 77 points, and so forth.

Earth Science  –  Potential Research Paper Topics – OR –  You may come up with your own!


  1. The geology of the planets and asteroids of the Solar System  use evidence from space research missions (e.g. Voyager, Mars Pathfinder, and the recent Mars and Asteroid Exploration missions)
  2. The evolution of the Solar System
  3. The theory of formation and geological evolution of Earth’s Moon
  4. Comets  What is their composition and origin(s)?  Do they strike Earth?
  5. Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) – When will an asteroid or comet strike the Earth next?
  6. Meteorites  What is the difference between a meteoroid, meteor, and a meteorite?
  7. The History of Astronomy – Which individuals made the most important discoveries?
  8. Neutron Stars – How do they develop?  Do all stars ultimately become neutron stars?
  9. Quasars and Pulsars – How has the discovery of these stellar structures define the evolution of the Universe
  10. Black Holes: How do they develop?  Do all stars ultimately become neutron stars or black holes?
  11. The Big Bang Theory – Is this the only theory of the origin of the universe, or have other scientific hypotheses been proposed as well?
  12. The Age of the Universe or The Age of the Solar System – How do cosmologists determine the age of the Universe, or the age of our Solar System?
  13. The History of International Space Station – Describe the scientific experiments that occurred on the ISS.


  1. The Midoceanic ridge system: the longest mountain chain in the world
  2. The theory of plate tectonics  What were Pangaea, Laurasia, Gondwanaland, and Iapetus Ocean?
  3. The tectonic causes of mountain building.  How did the Himalayas, Andes, and Alps form?
  4. The different causes of earthquakes.  Can earthquakes be predicted?
  5. One of the most significant natural disasters: tsunamis (seismic sea waves)  a Japanese word for tidal waves. 19. Types of volcanic eruptions – Note: there are many different types.
  6. The volcanic eruption at Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980
  7. The volcanic eruption at Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii, Italy
  8. Geologic/volcanic evolution of the Hawaiian Islands + Emperor Seamount Chain
  9. The geology of Florida  Discuss the various sedimentary rocks of Florida
  10. Soil erosion control: the “economic value” of topsoil
  11. The Pleistocene Ice Age: advance and retreat of glaciers
  12. Sea level rise and fall  What are the causes?  Will Miami and NY be underwater in 5,000 yrs?
  13. Shoreline erosion processes: are we losing Florida’s coasts.  If so, is there anything that can be done?
  14. The theories of origin of life on the planet.  How did individualcelled organisms evolve? Use the

fossil record and scientific sources to discuss the topic

  1. The science of paleontology: what are fossils, and why are fossils so important to geology?
  2. The science of paleontology: what are microfossils, and why are fossils important to petroleum geologists?
  3. The evolution of the dinosaurs  What were the birdhipped and lizardhipped dinosaurs?
  4. What were the causes(s) of the extinction of the dinosaurs?
  5. The appearance and evolution of the mammals
  6. Geologic time  How does a geologist know that the earth is 4.6 billion years old?  Discuss the techniques by

which the age of rocks and fossils are determined.

  1. The evolution of the horse: a classic case of biological evolution from fossil evidence
  2. The fossils of Florida – Did a sabertooth tiger prowl where we walk and drive today? (Answer: Yes!)
  3. Ocean floor minerals: Is deepsea mining a real possibility?
  4. How do large oil deposits form? The processes of formation of large volumes of oil (such as the North Slope of Alaska, the Saudi Arabian Oil Fields, or the Gulf of Mexico oil fields)
  5. The technologies of oil drilling  How is oil and natural gas removed from the ground or the seafloor?
  6. The geology of gold deposits in the United States  How do they form?  How does man extract them?
  7. Hydrology  What is an aquifer? Why are they easily contaminated? Why are they important to man?
  8. Sinkholes, natural bridges, disappearing streams and cavern systems  the development of karst         topography of Florida
  9. Is farming & animal husbandry (row crops, dairies, chicken farms) impacting groundwater quality and quantity in certain regions (e.g., the Flint River basin in southern Georgia)?
  10. The use of nonrenewable hydrocarbon resources of the planet by the human species.  How much longer can we depend on coal, oil, natural gas and wood for our energy sources?
  11. Global extinction events.  Humans are living in (and are causing) what scientists are calling the Sixth

Extinction event. Barreleye Fish Earth Science Research Paper


  1. The Deep-Sea Drilling Project (1970’s – through today)
  2. The phosphate industry in Florida – this paper would cover how these deposits form in Florida in the geologic past?  You are welcome to cover the economic and environmental impact of modern-day phosphate mining in Florida.  Incidentally, this is one of the largest exports in terms of $ that Florida produces.
  3. Any type of marine animal or group of animals (e.g., the seals and sea lions) or fish (e.g., the tuna),

or crustaceans (e.g., shrimp). Your paper may cover a group of organisms that Man utilizes for a

food source, or it may be a group that is scientifically interesting (e.g., the marine bacteria).

  1. The Ozone Problem – What are the effects of depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere on marine organisms?  Does it cause increased levels of ultraviolet light reaching the surface?  What effect will it

have on phytoplankton/zooplankton that form the base of the marine food web?

  1. Microfossils found in deep-sea sediments – How these fossils are used by petroleum companies to identify the

age of deep-sea sediments

  1. Underwater Hydrothermal Vents – Locations of New Biological Life forms
  2. Ocean Trenches – The world ocean’s deepest areas – what is their connection to plate tectonics and the

tectonic process of subduction

  1. The world’s continental shelves  – Some of the world’s largest mineral and biological resource areas
  2. The Plankton – the world ocean’s microscopic world
  3. The effects of the recent Ice Age, and the advance and retreat of continental glaciers on the world’s ocean.  Tie in to the issue of sea level rise and fall.  Will coastal cities be underwater soon?
  4. Endangered aquatic species of Florida – Four species of sea turtle, the Florida Manatee, and the North Atlantic Right Whale, which winters and breeds off the coast of Florida near Jacksonville. Why should our country continue to have an Endangered Species Act?
  5. The newly recognized problem of ocean acidification – will our coral reefs be gradually killed by more acidic ocean water?


  1. The Greenhouse Effect: global warming vs global cooling patterns  what are the causes? – How do we create models that predict such changes in our atmosphere?
  2. The Global Warming Gas Problem – How does man come to grips with proven gradual rise of carbon gasses (carbon dioxide, methane) in the atmospherBarreleye Fish Earth Science Research Papere?
  3. Acid Rain  What is it?  How is it formed?  Can we stop it?
  4. Tropical Rain Forests  Why are they so critical to the atmosphere of this planet?  Is there a chance we can

save some of them before they are destroyed by population growth and industrial logging?

  1. The structure of the atmosphere – its composition and temperature variations
  2. Hurricanes – the world’s largest storms.  You can cover topics such as hurricane forecasting
  3. Tornadoes – violent storms that produce the highest wind velocities
  4. The Ozone Problem – What are the effects of depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere? How does it cause increased levels of ultraviolet light to reach the surface?  What effect will this have on the phytoplankton and zooplankton that form the basis of the marine food web?  Has man solved the problem?

Barreleye Fish Earth Science Research Paper

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