Class meetings: Tuesday/Thursday, Lecture 12:45-1:35
p.m., rm. 102, Eugene
Butler Hall, with labs meeting from 2:20-5:10 p.m. in room
004 of the same building . Once underway, we will probably reduce
the lecture/lab break and meet, both lecture and lab, in rm. 004.
Teaching personnel: Dr.
Hugh D. Wilson and Teaching Assistant Amanda
Neill (both located on the 3rd
floor of Butler Hall)
Texts: Walters, D.R. & Keil, D.J. Vascular Plant Taxonomy,
4th ed., 1996 = "W&K" and a BOTN 301-level set of lab material that
will be supplemented with class handouts. These include a lab key
(packet #196), and 'Lab Handouts' (packet # 195). These
will be available at 'Copy
Corner', Redmond Terrace Mall near junction of George Bush Drive
and Texas Ave.
Biological systematics defines natural diversity
through formal recognition of phyletic lineages. Given the essential, long-term
nature of human contact with the global flora, botanical systematics is,
perhaps, the most ancient of human scientific enterprises. As a result,
resolution of vascular plant lineages has progressed from a structural
or morphological base inititated in the 1700s to current, molecular methods
of lineage tracking. While this course deals, to some extent, with
plant systematics as an academic discipline, our main focus this Spring
revolves around the application of systematic data to develop the
student's ability to define and recognize vascular plant lineage groups.
We focus, initially, on development of a botanical vocabulary. Once
this is established, the course moves through the vascular plant taxonomic
matrix, following current classification
systems to identify recognition features, or 'key characteristics',
of lineage groups, with special emphasis on flowering plants.
Since students enrolled are often not based
in plant systematics, or botany for that matter, the formal content of
this course is only slightly extended from that offered in our undergraduate
301. However, this formal material is compressed from
a full semester lecture sequence to a 6 week series of intense lecture/lab
meetings. We then use the 'field', i.e. the very diverse Spring
flora of central Texas, to link our initial survey of vascular plant lineages
to living representatives. Field work centers on excursions to local
sites for exploration and collection, ususally during the Tuesday labs,
followed by lab-based identification, often during the Thursday labs. Our
initial field objective will be to develop a familarity with 'standard'
floristic elements of the local Post-Oak
Savannah as exemplified by the flora of Lick
Creek Park. Once this is established, we focus on a more detailed
examination of micro-habitat diveristy (outcrops,
etc.) of the Navasota
Last updated: 18 January 2000.