Biology | Seminar in Systematics
B560 | 0685 | Gastony
Course format: One ca. Three-hour meeting per week beginning probably the
week of March 6. Topic for spring semester 2000: Spring Flora.
Requirements: Graduate standing in biology or consent of instructor.
Course description: Most grad students have a course background that is
process oriented rather than taxon oriented, and this problem-focused
approach to biology even more strongly defines their graduate work. Thus
it has been suggested that even grad students in research labs studying
plants have little knowledge of the plants comprising our local flora.
When our delightful spring flora bursts upon us following a long, dreary
Indiana winter, for example, few students know what these plants are whose
flowers remind us that life exists outside the lab and is good.
Nevertheless, grad students generally can't afford the time to take a
full-blown local flora course like the 5-credit B364 Summer Flowering
Plants course taught in the 8-week summer session.
Because the spring flora is typically not in bloom in our area
before mid March, it makes sense to meet only during the second half of the
semester, beginning the week of March 6 (the following week, beginning
March 13, is spring break). Thus we would meet for a ca. 3-hour period
each week beginning the week of March 6. This will enable us to go into
the field to learn the spring flora during some weeks and to work on floral
analysis and formal plant identification techniques (keying) in a lab
during other weeks. I would anticipate covering both the colorful
herbaceous spring flowering plants and some of the spring flowering trees,
including those with conspicuous flowers and those with inconspicuous
flowers in aments or catkins. If you are a reasonable person you might be
concerned about the work of this seminar being doubled up in the second
half of the semester. I too am concerned about this and will do what I can
to minimize it because I will simultaneously be teaching my large
undergraduate vascular plants survey course (B300) that becomes
particularly busy during the second half of the semester. I foresee this
seminar being a pleasant spring flora experience as well as an experience
from which you do learn something about plant identification.