Biology | Vascular Plants
B300 | 13231 | Knox, E

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. 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.  The first half 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 second
half of the course is 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: “Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach”, second
edition. 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.