Plant taxonomy is the study of plant diversity and diversification. The emphasis in this class will be on the diversity of the Intermountain Region, but context will be the phylogeny of the whole plant kingdom. Diversification, the processes leading to plant diversity will be discussed throughout the semester but will receive greater emphasis towards the end of the semester.
By the end of this course you should be able to:
- Recognize, and to explain to others how you do it, 70 plant families.
- Use technical identification keys, both dichotomous and multi-access, to identify plant taxa.
- Explain some of the processes leading to plant diversification
- Explain the basic principles guiding plant classification and nomenclature
- Prepare a museum quality herbarium specimen
- Use a research herbarium
The objectives of the course will be pursued through a combination of lectures, laboratory study, quizzes, assignments, completion of a key-writing project, quizzes, and tests.
We shall start by studying the earliest vascular plants but, once we reach angiosperms we shall start with the Asteraceae and the skip around the phylogenetic tree in order to take advantage of any living plant material that is available through the greenhouse, local stores, or friends in warm places. At the end of each week, I shall provide a synopsis of what was covered via this site.
Quizzes will be held at the start of lab on Wednesday. There will be a short midterm on Jan. 29 and a longer one on March 2. The key project will be explained in detail on Feb. 12.
The easiest way to contact me is via email. If I receive a request for clarification of some point, the reply will be sent to the whole class. If you wish to come and talk with me, emailing or phoning to ask if I am free is best.