Biology | Vascular Plants
B300 | 0636 | Gastony
Course format: Lectures 11:15-12:05 MW, JH 124 plus one laboratory session
per week on M or T.
Requirements: An introductory biology course.
Course description: Vascular plants are commonly known as the "higher
plants" and are the dominant plants in the world today, those that we
constantly see around us in the natural world and those that we cultivate
and use for landscaping, house plants, and food. Course focuses on the
major kinds or groups of extant vascular plants and studies in detail and
from an evolutionary perspective the morphologies, life cycles,
identification, classification, and economic importance of these groups.
Laboratory sessions and one spring field trip provide hands-on experience
in analyzing plant structures, using identification keys, preparing and
working with herbarium specimens, and reconstructing phylogenetic
relationships among plant groups with and without computer assistance. In
a semester-long lab project, the life cycle of a fern is examined from the
sowing of spores to fertilization in gametophytes and the early development
of sporophytes. The course progresses from groups most like the earliest
evolved land plants to the most recently evolved major group, the
angiosperms or flowering plants that dominate most of the earth's land
surface today. Approximately the first third of the course deals with the
more primitive vascular plants (the whisk ferns, horsetails, clubmosses,
spike mosses, quillworts, and ferns), concluding with the more primitive
seed-producing plants (the gymnosperms such as the cycads, Ginkgo, and
pines). The final two thirds of the course is devoted to the flowering
plants, with lectures covering their reproductive biology and other shared
characteristics as well as the taxonomy, identification, economic
importance, and other features of some of their most important and commonly
encountered families. For more information contact Dr. Gastony at
Required text: MORPHOLOGY AND EVOLUTION OF VASCULAR PLANTS by Ernest M.
Gifford and Adriance S. Foster, third edition, 1989. Selected journal
articles will also be assigned. Laboratory manual consists of bound
xeroxed lab exercises designed for this course.
Weekly assignments: Read relevant pages from the text and study lecture
notes as suggested in web page:
Exams/papers: Occasional pop quizzes with lowest quiz score dropped; three
lecture exams; three laboratory practical exams; all exams count. This is a
remarkably well organized and informative course with excellent and caring
AI's and professor.