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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Evolution & Biodiversity of Cryptogams (PLSC11005)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on three major groups of cryptogams - bryophytes, algae and fungi. These often small and overlooked organisms make up important parts of Earth¿s biodiversity and perform critical ecosystem functions, from the carbon-sequestration of peat-forming mosses and pelagic algae to the fungal plant symbioses that dominate the earth.
Course description The course aims to present several of the major groups of cryptogamic plants and fungi, allowing students time to explore their morphology and evolution in workshop-style settings. The focus for the course will be algae, bryophytes and fungi including lichens, with practical and theoretical work interspersed to ensure students get time to see and understand exemplar taxa from each group and have time to explore the diversity of the groups for themselves in field or microscope work with a focus on understanding life-histories as a means to identification and ecosystem roles. Practical microscope work and field trips are integral to the course. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has a long legacy of taxonomic and conservation work in these taxon groups.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 18, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 15, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 60, Fieldwork Hours 16, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 75 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 50 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework (50%), written and practical exams (50%)
Feedback Half of the course marks is for a class practical. Assessment for this will be in the form of written work from practical workshops, in which the student is expected to provide annotated drawings and notes covering the material in practical sessions. Students will be provided with feedback and are able to discuss the feedback with teaching staff at the time. Formative assessment for this component will be provided orally in earlier field practicals and in practical workshops.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe algal and fungal diversity at the phylum level, including lichen symbioses, and discuss key adaptations in heterokont algae and basal land plants.
  2. Evaluate critically different sources of phylogenetic information (e.g., DNA sequence data, ultrastructure and morphology) and their uses in understanding algal, fungal and protist evolution.
  3. Recognise representatives of the major taxonomic groups of cryptogams and fungi from their morphological characters, relate the morphological characters of the group to its ecology, and evaluate the effect of taxonomy on research applications.
  4. Describe the major differences between life-cycles and dispersal mechanism of groups within fungi, algae and cryptogams and discuss how these can affect conservation strategies.
  5. Make field collections of cryptogams including all the notes required for identification.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analysis
Critical analysis
Problem solving
IT skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Andrew Hudson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3383
Course secretaryMrs Claire Black
Tel: (0131 6)50 8637
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