Narrator:Listen to a conversation between a student and her biology professor.
Professor:Hi, Suzanne. You’ve been keeping busy?
Suzanne:Really busy. It’s that time of the semester. I’m glad I turned in the first draft as my paper for your class already.
Thanks for getting to it so quickly and for seeing me today.
Professor:Sure. Yes, it looks like it will be a good paper. Great topic but I think it could use a little more work because it’s just that I found it a bit unclear in places so I want to make sure I understand what you intended to do before I make suggestions for admissions.
Professor:So can you summarize, tell me in a few sentences the main ideas you want to get across?
Suzanne:Okay. Well, honeybees can communicate the location of food to other honeybees and the idea was to describe how they use Earth’s magnetic field in that process.
Professor:To help them communicate?
Suzanne:No, to help them find their way, to navigate.
Professor:Okay. See, I wasn’t sure you separated those two ideas. One that honeybees could communicate with other
honeybees and two, that they might be using the magnetic field but only for navigation.
Professor:Are you sure you understand that?
Suzanne:I think so. After they find food and return to the hive, they move in different ways to communicate different things.Like they do a simple dance, the round dance, to communicate that a food source is nearby. But they do a more complex dance, the waggle dance, if the food is farther than, like seventy-five meters away. Both dances convey information about the distance from the hive to the food source and the waggle dance conveys the direction of the food from the hive.
Professor:Okay, good. And where is the magnetic field for that?
Suzanne:Well, they have cells in their body that contains iron. So we assume that they’re able to sense Earth’s magnetic
field, which might help them navigate. It’s likely that they have an internal compass, like if they get blown off course
by the wind, they can get back on course.
Professor:Okay, good. The thing is in your draft, it rather showed that the magnetic field was irrelevant to the bee dance
through communication. I looked over your list of sources and I thought I could see why.
Student:There’s a problem with my sources?
Professor:Well, the article you sited on magnetic navigation isn’t very academic. It’s more of a general interest article. I
thought that maybe you relied too much on its wording so I was going to suggest you go back and find the original
research report which presents the information in a more precise and clear way. But maybe you just need to revise
your own wording in your paper. I think when you look at it again you will know what I’m talking about. If you have
any questions, come by again.
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