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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Taxonomy & Plant Collections (PLSC11006)

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 Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the crucial role of herbarium taxonomy in plant biology and its power and elegance as a technique to study plant diversity.
Course description The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the crucial role of herbarium taxonomy in plant biology and its power and elegance as a technique to study plant diversity. By the end of the course, students will have the experience of working in a large international herbarium and the curatorial and taxonomic skills required for a career in curation or research. The course consists of an introduction, followed by a series of topics which are prerequisites for herbarium taxonomy. After preparation in a combination of practicals and lectures, students carry out a piece of original research and write a Flora account of a small genus or family which forms the main part of the in course assessment. The following subjects are covered: Plant collecting, curation, nomenclature of wild and cultivated plants, the production and uses of taxonomic tools, monographs, floras, checklists, keys, and databases.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 2 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 15.5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 29.5, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 4, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 48 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% ICA consisting of a worksheet on a published example and a project report based on a Flora account of a given genus or family.
Feedback The summative assessment for this course is a written taxonomic account in the format of a Flora, based on a literature review and practical work. The formative assessment is a worksheet on a published taxonomic account introduction to the group of plants being revised, allowing feedback on the literature review and methodology that will form part of the summative report. Feedback to the formative assessment will be provided orally and the student encouraged to reflect on it, in discussion with staff and peers, in a tutorial setting. Feedback on the summative assessment will be written.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the importance of herbarium taxonomy in plant biology and illustrate its uses with specific examples.
  2. Describe the practical aspects of herbarium taxonomy, including preparation, curation and analysis of specimens and associated data, and demonstrate practical skills in the preparation and use of specimens and data.
  3. Describe the practical aspects of a collection of living plants and associated data in the context of a taxonomic revision.
  4. Appraise existing taxonomic and floristic literature on any group of plants.
  5. Apply theoretical and practical knowledge to a taxonomic revision of a small group of plants.
Reading List
Winston, J.E. 1999. Describing Species: Practical Taxonomic Procedure for Biologists. Columbia University Press 512 pp. also available as an ebook.

Turland, N. 2019. The Code Decoded: A user¿s guide to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, 2nd Edition, available free online. Pensoft publishers.

Sosef, M.S.M. Degreef, J., Engledow, H. & Meerts 2020. Botanical classification and nomenclature, an introduction. Meise Botanic Garden, 2020. 72 pp. available free online.
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 secretaryMiss Fionnuala Nidhonnabhain
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