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Plant systematics - introduction

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  1. Plant systematics - introduction • Home page:http://www.botany.utoronto.ca/courses/bot300/ • Instructor (Winter 2003): Tim Dickinson (tim.dickinson@utoronto.ca; 416 586 8032) • Required Text:Judd, W. S., Campbell, C. S., Kellogg, E. A., Stevens, P. F. & M. J. Donoghue (2002). Plant Systematics - A Phylogenetic Approach, 2nd ed. Sunderland MA, Sinauer Associates, Inc. • Method of Evaluation:57% term tests (3 x 19%), 19% term paper, 19% laboratory project, 5% laboratory exercises.

  2. Introduction, cont. • An introduction to the principles and practice of biological taxonomy, with emphasis on seed plants. Discussion of the historical development of taxonomy provides a backdrop for the evaluation of contemporary trends in the discipline. Among the topics considered are: folk biological taxonomy, nomenclature, lines of evidence used in making taxonomic decisions, the relationships between phylogeny and classification, and disagreements among contemporary schools of taxonomy. Students will be required to review a taxonomic monograph. Practicals emphasize skills in classification and identification.

  3. Introduction, cont. • term paper - a 5-10 page typed "review" of a taxonomic monograph in relation to the concepts presented in the course. A list of suitable monographs is part of the handout. • laboratory project - Students will work in pairs to construct a taxonomic database in the DELTA format. • laboratory exercises - These vary from week to week, and include learning to use identification tools, and to collect and analyze taxonomic evidence.

  4. What are some of the immediate products of taxonomy? • Monographs • Floras • Descriptions of new species • Phylogenies • Classifications

  5. Taxonomy • …informs many disciplines • …and is informed by many disciplines

  6. Plant taxonomy • Finds the correct name for plants, naming new species (and higher categories as well, if needed) if no existing name is appropriate: • characterizes the plant associated with each name; • places each named species in a classification; • provides tools by means of which each species can be distinguished from others like it. • Provides an essential service for all other disciplines and areas of endeavor that need to refer to particular kinds of plants. • Two examples: one, two.