Plant Systematics

PLS 472/572
4 Units
Undergraduate, Graduate
Spring
Michelle McMahon
This course is designed to introduce graduate and advanced undergraduate students to the field of plant systematics. Central concepts in systematic biology will be covered, as will a more detailed survey of selected lineages, with emphasis on the flowering plants. Phylogenetic history will provide the organizing theme as we study plant diversity and the evolutionary origins of traits. Goals of the course are to learn and understand: • Systematics — fundamental concepts and techniques of systematic biology, especially as applied to plants, including phylogenetic systematics, botanical nomenclature, and the role of systematics in other fields of plant biology; • Evolution — major processes and events in the history of angiosperm evolution, including speciation, polyploidy, vicariance, and co-evolution; • Diversity — macro- and micro-morphological characteristics and diagnostic traits of major clades in the angiosperms, including floral, fruit, and vegetative features; • Identification — terminology and tools needed for identifying plants from the field, including the use of literature, keys, and online resources.