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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Postgraduate

Postgraduate Course: Tropical Plant Identification Course (PLSC11008)

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
SummaryA core skill for any botanist and taxonomist is being able to identify plants. Although the number of plant species is a bewildering 300,000, there are ways of breaking this diversity down into manageable chunks so you can move forward with the identification process. This course teaches both the theory and practice of tropical plant identification, and botanical surveying and collecting work.
Course description The course uses a combination of on-line learning, use of the living plant collection at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, excursions to local field sites or a residential study visit to the temperate rain forests of western Scotland, depending on restrictions in place at the time
This course content covers:
1. The characteristics of major tropical plant families and genera, the processes involved in identification (with particular emphasis on vegetative characters) and how to identify plants specimens to at least family level.
2. The theoretical basis of different qualitative and quantitative methods for surveying habitats and how to use them effectively to describe plant biodiversity.
3. How to collect and preserve herbarium-standard specimens.
4. Ethical considerations when collecting and surveying.
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 Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 32, Fieldwork Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 5, Summative Assessment Hours 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 28 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 60 %, Practical Exam 40 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Practical exam (class test) 40%
Written report 60%
Feedback Teaching staff will give regular feed-back to students. A formative practical test (identification of plant species) is included.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognise the characteristics of major plant families and genera, understand the processes involved in plant identification and identify plant specimens to at least family level.
  2. Understand the theoretical basis of different qualitative and quantitative habitat survey techniques, and be able to use them effectively to describe biodiversity.
  3. Collect and preserve herbarium-standard specimens.
  4. Appreciate and apply ethical considerations in surveying and collecting work.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course provides the opportunity to develop graduate attributes in both the mindsets and skill groups dimensions. Working partly as individuals, students have opportunities to develop initiative, personal effectiveness, autonomy, a positive mindset and problem solving skills. Working as part of a team, it further develops skills in engaging effectively with others, influencing positively and adapting to new situations with sensitivity and integrity.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Andrew Hudson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3383
Course secretaryMiss Fionnuala Nidhonnabhain
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