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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Veronica Sandra Distilio
BIOL 441
Seattle Campus

Trends in Land Plant Evolution

Covers key innovations and trends during the evolution of land plants. Uses an evolution of development (evo-devo) approach that compares morphological, anatomical, developmental, and molecular traits across main evolutionary lineages of plants. Prerequisite: either BIOL 220, B BIO 220, or TESC 140; either BIOL 350, BIOL 354, BIOL 355, or BIOL 356. Offered: A.

Class description

This course explores key innovations and trends during the evolution of land plants. We will use an evolution of development (evo-devo) approach that compares morphological, anatomical, developmental and molecular traits across main evolutionary lineages of plants.

Student learning goals

Gain an appreciation of plant diversity by studying the main lineages: non vascular plants, seedless vascular plants, non-flowering seed plants and angiosperms.

Map all major key innovations, vegetative and reproductive, on a phylogenetic tree of land plants.

Understand the role of key gene family players in the evolution of plant form.

Learn to make observations, illustrate, carry out experiments and draw conclusions from them during laboratory exercises.

Learn to interpret results from the primary literature and understand their wider implications.

General method of instruction

Interactive lectures, journal club, hands-on activities, laboratory experiments and observations, computer labs, greenhouse visits, field trip

Recommended preparation

Course series in introductory biology (180-200-220 or equivalent) and a Foundations course required. Basic knowledge of molecular biology, genetics, evolution and plant biology assumed from introductory series.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly lecture quizzes/in-class discussion questions (8, drop lowest), 2 reading quizzes before journal clubs, 2 lecture exams (short essay/short answer), 2 lab exams and lab. exercises.

Lecture exams (100 pt.) 200 pt. Lab exams (50 pt.) 100 pt. Lab exercises (5 pt.) 100 pt. Lecture quizzes/discussions (10 pt.) 70 pt. Reading quizzes (5 pt.) 10 pt. Greenhouse exercise 20 pt. Total 500 pt.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Veronica Sandra Distilio
Date: 12/12/2013