Biology | Vascular Plants
B300 | 0573 | Gastony, G
Course Format: Lectures 11:15-12:05 MW, JH124 plus one laboratory session
per week on M or T.
Prerequisites: An introductory biology course.
Course Description: This is a remarkably well organized and informative
course with excellent and caring AIs. The professor received the 2001
Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in Biology and Dedication to
Undergraduates. 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, clubmosses, spike mosses, quillworts,
horsetails, and ferns), concluding with he 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.
Required text: ClassPac of selected textbook chapters. 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.
Exams/Papers: Occasional pop quizzes with lowest quiz score dropped; three
lecture exams; three laboratory practical exams; all exams count.