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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Biology

Undergraduate Course: Evolution and Ecology of Plants 3 (BILG09011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAcclimation and adaptation of plants to diverse environmental stresses; competition and niche capture by plants; origin, evolution and biodiversity of plants, from algae to angiosperms (based on up-to-date molecular relationships); their reproductive and breeding mechanisms; their anatomy. How the earliest plants colonised the land, and what they can tell us about ancient climates. Laboratory and field work is integral to the course, including work at the Royal Botanic Garden.
Course description The course covers aspects of the acclimation and adaptation of plants to diverse environmental stresses, both biotic and physical; competition and niche capture by plants; the origin, evolution and biodiversity of plants; their reproductive and breeding mechanisms; and their anatomy. The course mainly focuses on land plants. A comparison of morphological, physiological and molecular approaches will be introduced to study the ecology and evolution and plants, from algae to angiosperms. Plant¿environment interactions also feature in the context of the colonisation of the land by early plants. We hope that the evolution and ecology of plants ¿ past and present, wild or cultivated ¿ will be seen to be indissolubly linked. The earliest land plants and their modern descendants are described, with an examination of ancient environments and what plants can tell us about them. The sequence of evolutionary novelties that drove land plant evolution and culminated in the radiation and success of angiosperms is described and current angiosperm diversity is surveyed, based on up-to-date molecular relationships.

Suitable laboratory and field work will accompany all units of the course. It will involve the greatest possible use of living plant materials, both wild and from the RBGE collection.

This course therefore aims to deliver a broad understanding of how plants evolved, how they interact with the world, and why these things matter.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Evolution in Action 2 (BILG08005) OR The Green Planet 2 (BILG08016)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students should provide a notebook and marker pen.

Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesEquivalent of the courses listed above
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 23, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 53, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 117 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Normally 3 items of in-course assessment plus one 2-hour exam
Feedback A practical report, the course essay and the plant photo collection will receive written feedback. Formative feedback on practical work will be provided throughout the course.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand and give examples of how individual plants acclimate, and how plant populations adapt, to environmental stresses.
  2. Possess a modern overview of how the first plants colonised the land, and of how we classify and work out the evolutionary relationships of present-day plants.
  3. Appreciate the construction and functions of different plant tissues and organs.
  4. Describe evolutionary relationships with special reference to agriculturally and ecologically important families of flowering plants.
  5. Conduct wet experimental bench-work, and make accurate and informed observations on living and preserved plant material, recording the results in coherent notes. Interpret experimental and observational data to reach logical conclusions about plant evolution and ecology.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Logical argument; concise writing.
Practical skills; accurate observation.
Additional Class Delivery Information Most weeks:
Lectures are 1330 - 1430 hrs
Practicals are 1430 - 1700 hrs
(2 days per week).
KeywordsEEP3,evolution,ecophysiology,plant science,biodiversity
Course organiserProf Stephen Fry
Tel: (0131 6)50 5320/5321
Course secretaryMrs Louise Hann
Tel: (0131 6)50 7481
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