Making Sense of Feedback Loops
Biological systems operate via a series of inputs and outputs into the system, whether that be nutrients, water, energy, etc. A feedback loop is an occurrence wherein the output within a system amplifies or inhibits another component of that system. It is important that you understand feedback loops because they allow organisms to maintain homeostasis or prevent organisms from doing so. For this assignment:
- You will choose a simple feedback loop of your own creation to illustrate major characteristics. It can be any component of an ecosystem that you can think of. There should be at least five inputs/outputs to your feedback loop.
- You will then explain how these characteristics interact. You need to indicate if you have a positive or negative feedback loop and discuss at least two scenarios of what would happen if an input or output were missing or if it were added.
Apple Ripening: Positive feedback loop (with five inputs/outputs)
Apple ripens on trees > ripened fruit produces ethylene > ethylene signals neighboring fruit to ripen > neighbors produce more ethylene > more apples ripen.
Weather Feedback: Negative feedback loop (with six inputs/outputs)
Air temperature rises > water evaporates > cloud formation > more albedo from increased clouds > more light reflected away from Earth off clouds > Earth cooling
Basic Writing Expectations:
- There is no minimum word count.
- Include a title page, double-space your paper, and use a font size of 10 or 12.
- Demonstrate superior organization — use logic.
- Make certain that your paper is free of grammar and spelling errors.
- Avoid plagiarism.
- Use APA style for the body of the paper, all in-text citations, and references.
- Include an introduction and conclusion.