Thesis Instructions

Candidates enrolled in the Honors-in-Biology program should begin to write their thesis early in the winter/spring term (introduction, materials and methods) as scheduled with your research supervisor. A rough draft should be completed and given to your research supervisor according to a mutually agreed upon schedule. The department needs a few days lead-time to read theses and vote departmental honors before the Registrar's Deadline for notification of honors at graduation. Two copies should be submitted on standard paper with lasered print.
As stated in the Trinity College Catalogue, the bachelor's degree with Honors in Biology is awarded by the department after the candidate has completed senior research, and has submitted a written thesis to the department. Along with the honors student's research advisor, two other faculty will be appointed to each candidate's thesis committee and will sign the accepted thesis. Other members of the department may read each of the theses submitted. The faculty of the department will vote whether or not to accept the theses submitted by honor's candidates. After necessary corrections are made on accepted theses, final copies should be submitted to the department as outlined below. Those theses not accepted for the degree with departmental honors are returned to the candidate. Accepted honor's theses will be bound by the department and deposited in the Trinity College Library, by which act they are deemed to be published, and may be read and cited by anyone in the world.
It is necessary that honors theses meet an adequate level of archival quality for acceptance by the College Librarian. Please note that this condition applies to only two copies (one for the main library and the second for the LSC library) and not to additional copies that you may wish to make. The archival requirements are:
1. The paper stock must be at least 20 weight and at least 25% rag content bond. Sleazy paper, such as Eaton's Corrasable Bond, on which print or ink might smear, is not acceptable. Each copy should be made on a laserprinter (dot-matrix and ink-jet printers [Stylewriters] are unacceptable). Photocopies (Xerox, etc.) are not acceptable for the body of the paper but may be used for certain figures.
2. Use either Times, Palatino, or New Century Schoolbook fonts and a 10- or 12-point size, with 1.5-2 line spacing. Justification of text is optional.
3. The title page and committee page must conform to the samples appended at the end of this document.
4. Theses should be written in typical scientific style: Title page, Committee page, Abstract page, Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results, Discussion, with or without a separate section entitled, Conclusion. Literature Cited should immediately follow the text of the thesis.
5. Thesis Tables and Figures can be included after Literature Cited or intercalated within the text. These are to be given independent Arabic numbers, and ordered as they appear in the text. Each table or figure must be provided with a concise caption or legend (if more needs to be said, do it in in the text or in a line or two at the bottom of the table).
6. Figures (photographs, drawings, graphs) can contain the caption on the same page or the caption may be placed on the preceding page, facing the illustration. Write the Figure Number on the top of the reverse side of each figure. Originals are not usually necessary as figures, but use your best products for the library theses. Photographs must be thoroughly washed to remove all hyposulfite, and/or treated with a hyponeutralizer to extend archival life. Commercially produced photographs are usually fine.
7. After corrections are made as conditions for acceptance, four copies of theses will be bound and labeled by the department before depositing them in the libraries.  Additional copies could be bound at the expense of the student. Please consider these helpful sytle/editorial tips as you write:
a. Italicize genus and species throughout [since this will be in effect a publication, do not underline when you can italicize using a computer]. Families and on up in the taxonomic hierarchy are not italicized or underlined. Even if you use the common name of your organism throughout much of your thesis (e.g., Norway rat), please identify the taxon with its Latin binomial once in the text (Rattus norvegicus (Erxleben)). This can be done by identifying the organism(s) studied in their first usage (e.g., don't just write, "attack on Zostera by Labyrinthula...," rather write, "attack on the marine grass, Zostera, by the net slime mold, Labyrinthula...").
b. Some students will use the binomials throughout, as common names do not exist. Botanists often write out the genus the first time it is used in each paragraph (Branchioglossum minutum). Thereafter, in the same paragraph the genus can be properly abbreviated with the first letter and a period (B. minutum, B. prostratum, &c.). Start the next paragraph by once again writing out the full genus, then abbreviate thereafter. Zoological journals do not often follow this style, only writing out the genus once where it first appears in the text. N.b. Even such commonly used abbreviated binomials as E. coli and T. rex should be identified properly (with unabbreviated generic names) the first time they appear in the text.
c. Authorities of each plant species should be listed after first usage of Latin binomial, and omitted thereafter (e.g., Gigartina acicularis (Wulfen) Lamouroux). Note that animal taxa authorities are given in a different style than plants, with only one authority given (see number 1 above). Many zoological journals do not require [or in some cases allow] the publication of authorities, so check with your advisor and follow the convention he or she suggests. Authority abbreviations are acceptable if you wish to use them, but be consistent throughout. Correct author citations/abbreviations for plant authors can be found in Brummitt & Powell (1992), Authors of Plant Names.
d. Do not put "the" before a generic or specific name. An organism is "the blotched king snake," but it is not "the Lampropeltis getulus" or "the Lampropeltis" so just leave out the "the" in such usage.
e. Spell out ordinal numbers (e.g., first, one, fifth) except in chemical names. Never start a sentence with a numeral; if you do open with a number, spell it out.
improper: "1,2-dibromoethane was never utilized as an aquatic
pesticide, but its possible effects...";
proper: "Never utilized as an aquatic pesticide, 1,2-
dibromoethane has been suggested as having possible
f. If you report statistics in your thesis, where possible report exact probabilities (e.g., p = 0.057, not p > 0.05) avoid the redundant use of the word "significant(ly)." Write, for example, "the means differed (p = 0.016)," without using significantly. Report the results of statistical tests or central tendency as in the following examples:
(t = 2.47, 1 df, p = 0.013)
(c2 = 2.21, 10 df, p = 0.029)
(x = 7.8, SE = 3.21, n = 46)
"P" can either be upper or lower case, but be consistent.
g. When abbreviating a unit of measurement, do not include the period (e.g., m, cm, mm, hr, da, ha, min, sec, ml, l, km, &c.). Keep one space between a numeral and its unit of measurement (e.g., 300 ft-c, not 300ft-c; 25 ml, not 25ml). Spaces should also be left between statistical equations: n = 12, p = 0.002, not n=12, p=0.002.
h. If a phrase or sentence is directly copied from another source, use quotation marks and immediately follow with a proper literature citation.
i. Give the meaning of an abbreviation the first time it appears in the text [exceptions - journal titles, units of measurement].
j. For correct scientific notation in the text, the authors of a book or paper should be written out completely, such as: Carlton and Scanlon (1985) or Carlton & Scanlon (1985) or (Carlton & Scanlon, 1985) depending upon usage. Be consistent using either & or and. Although some journals use numbers for citations in the text instead of writing out author names, we ask you not to do this.

k. Three or more authors are written out completely only in the Literature Cited. In the text, the article should be cited as follows: (Searles et al., 1984) or Searles et al. (1984). "Et al." is italicized because it is the abbreviation for the Latin phrase, et alii, meaning "and others," and, as for binomials, all Latin should be italicized.
l. If a publication you cite was written by a committee or agency with unknown authors, as is often the case with technical and governmental reports, cite the author as (Anonymous, year) as above.
m. When the same author or authors have multiple publications in the same year, use a lower case modifier to distinguish them based upon the alphabetical order of the journals in which the papers appeared (e.g., Blackburn, 1994a; Blackburn, 1994b; Blackburn, 1994c). Two papers in the same journal/same year would be chronologically listed "a" and "b."
n. When more than one paper is used to illustrate the same point, list the citations chronologically and separate with semicolons (e.g., Crawford & Simmons, 1994; Brewer, 1995).
o. All references referred to in the text must be cited at the end of the paper in alphabetical order under Literature Cited. No references should appear in this section unless they have been cited in the text. Use the literature format proscribed in a top journal in your field of investigation, provided it does not use an abbreviated format without article titles -- we expect each citation to have a title in the thesis. Please note that author first names should always be abbreviated, and journal titles can either be abbreviated or written out (some journals, such as Phycologia do not have formal abbreviations, so be careful to find how others cite (abbreviate) each journal). Prof. Schneider has the departmental copy of the Council of Biology Editors, Inc. (CBE) manual for authors, editors and publishers, Scientific Style and Format which you are welcome to use. It has a format for journal abbreviations and literature citations as well as a great deal of other useful information. Also notice that unless a word in the title of a journal article is a proper word, only the first word in the title is capitalized. Whatever format you choose, you must be consistent with all of the cited papers and books.
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Effects of Various Salinities ona Salt-Marsh Alga,
Vaucheria (Tribophyceae, Chrysophyta)
28 April 1995
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Effects of Various Salinities ona Salt-Marsh Alga,
Vaucheria (Tribophyceae, Chrysophyta)
Laura A. MacDonald
Honors Thesis Committee
Craig W. Schneider, Advisor
Robert H. Brewer
Michael A. O'Donnell
Date: ________________________________________