Biology | Vascular Plants
B300 | 0574 | Gastony, G
Course Format: Lecture: 11:15-12:05 MW, JH124 plus one laboratory
session per week on M or T in JH 243.
Requirements: 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 earliest evolving extant vascular plants
(the whisk ferns, clubmosses, spike mosses, quillworts, horsetails,
and ferns), concluding with the more primitive lineages of
seed-producing plants (the gymnosperms such as the cycads, Ginkgo, and
pines). The final two thirds of the course are devoted to the
flowering plants, with lectures covering their reproductive biology
(flower types, fruit types, life cycle, etc.) 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. Occasional web exercises.
Exams/Papers: Occasional pop quizzes with lowest quiz score dropped;
three lecture exams; three laboratory practical exams; all exams count.