Getting Started Exercise  EXAMPLE


1.   Briefly explain why this research is important.  To whom does it matter? Make your answer appeal to the broadest possible audience.


Global warming threatens ecological systems, coastal cites, and decisions about energy use.  If C loss from terrestrial ecosystems is increased by warming, this amplifies the greenhouse effect.


2.  Write a statement that identifies the problem you  were trying to solve in your research.  You may write the statement as a question or as a declaration of the problem that you addressed. 


Try composing two different statements below.  Limit each response to a single question or sentence that is written succinctly and without ambiguity.


a.  What is the effect of increasing nighttime temperatures on net C flux in terrestrial ecosystems?


b.  Increased night temperatures should cause increased C losses, because of higher respiration, but also increased C sequestration, because growing season length is limited by night temperatures.  Will the positive effect of increased growing season length overcome the negative effect of increased respiration?



3.  Describe the results of your work, in a small number of bulleted phrases. Include only results that are relevant to your conclusions.  These results should answer the question you posed in part 2, above.  If they do not, change your question so that they do.


Respiration losses exceed growing season gains in most ecosystems.


Night warming causes net C loss.



4.  Write the conclusions to your paper.  The conclusions should relate to the general motivation for the paper that you describe in part 1.  If you accidentally write about Results, move those statements to the Results.  You may want to revise your answer to part 1 to match the answer you give here.


Models that do not account for differential warming between night and day will not correctly predict the effect of global change on C balance.  Estimates of terrestrial C loss with warming may have been underestimated.



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