1. Life cycle of the species- Describe the life cycle of the organism you have chosen. The life cycle of an organism refers to the series of changes in both development and growth from its beginnings as an independent life form up until maturity, when it is able to reproduce. Organisms like bacteria have relatively simple life cycles; however other organisms (e.g., plants) have very complex stages to their life cycle.
2. Structure and Function- Describe the structure and function of at least one major organ system of the species (e.g., digestive system, reproductive system). Choose one system and describe how this organism's system is structured anatomically and physiologically. Identify any species-specific characteristics or adaptations that are particularly unique to this organism and describe why.
3. Evolution of the organism - Evolution is simply heritable change over time. Sometimes changes from one generation to the next can give individuals an advantage. Specifically a trait that increases reproductive success or survival ability could be advantageous. Include a section in your profile paper about your organism's evolution. Here are possible ways to research the topic:
a. Conduct a review of scientific literature to understand what is known about your organism's past evolution. Search key words may include evolution, fossil, ancestor. Often technical reports from wildlife and conservation agencies have descriptions of an organism's evolution.
b. Summarize research on any adaptive traits. Search key words include adaptation, evolution, trait, and character.
c. Find an article on the family tree or phylogeny of your organism. Summarize the information describing related species. Search key words might include phylogeny, phylogenetic, and genetic analysis.
d. Use the Tree of Life Project to describe the phylogeny of your organism. Start at species, if possible, and trace back to the root. In addition to your summary, include any interesting patterns or unknown data.
**Still have problems about how to research for the evolution section? Click here for a hypothetical ex.
4. Additional interests - The diversity of biological organisms is vast. Therefore, if your organism has a particularly interesting aspect about its biology that is not covered in the life cycle, structure and function, and evolution add a section to your paper on that aspect. For ex, if your species has an interesting parental care strategy or mating system (i.e., protrandry/protogyny, polygymy, promiscuity, monogamy) you can include that in your paper.