Project Description

Welcome to Botany

BIO 1220 / Fall / CCV

Printable syllabus for BIO 1020: Intro to Environmental Biology

This course is intended to introduce students to the fundamentals of environmental biology. It is an introduction to the structure and biota of several aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and students investigate why species occupy specific habitats. The course includes an introduction to Vermont’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, spatial and temporal changes in ecosystems and species, critical observation and interpretation of landscapes. The course will stress communication skills, as well as critical thinking and teamwork.

  1. Explain the process of scientific inquiry.
  2. Define an ecosystem, biome and population.
  3. Trace the flow of energy through ecosystems and discuss the role of energy in influencing organisms and ecosystems present in an area.
  4. Describe the cycling of water, nutrients and other materials in ecosystems.
  5. Explain the role of geology, climate and land use history in determining the course of succession in terrestrial and aquatic systems.
  6. Define and give examples of a niche.
  7. Discuss the connection between evolution, adaptations and an organism’s role in the ecosystem.
  8. Explain the role of genetic variation in evolution and the importance of biodiversity to ecosystem stability.
  9. Describe specific adaptations that increase an organism’s fitness within its niche.
  10. Explain the nature and value of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
  11. Discuss the impact of human activity on the processes and patterns that maintain environmental systems and explore options for reducing those impacts.
  1. Use common field techniques to assess ecological dynamics operating in an ecosystem.
  2. Use the scientific method to design and conduct a research project.
  3. Evaluate data from laboratory experiments.
  4. Present the results of a scientific research project in the form of a poster, written report, or oral presentation. The report will include relevant sections on (1) purpose of the investigation, (2) materials and procedures, (3) data and observations, (4) graphs and charts, (5) calculations, and (6) conclusion and analysis.

Syllabus

Use the section below to find due dates for assignments, readings for each weak (readings are listed on the day they are due), and lots of supplemental resources. Click the icon to the right for a printable version of the syllabus: Printable syllabus for BIO 1020: Intro to Environmental Biology

Wednesday | September 5

INTRODUCTIONS
WHAT IS LIFE? WHAT IS BOTANY?

Discussion of what life is (and what it isn’t). We’ll also discuss what the study of botany encompasses and its historical development

Read for today: Ch 1
Due today: Nothing
Lecture: ​Intro to Botany
Handouts: Nothing
Suggested media: 

Wednesday | September 12

 EVOLUTION, NATURAL SELECTION,
AND THE PRECURSORS TO PLANTS

Plants have evolved and changed in response to environmental changes, but plants have also significantly altered their environment as well. We’ll look at the adaptations of early plants that allowed them to first colonize land and then radiate into a myriad of different forms.

Read for today: Ch 16 + 17
Due today: Nothing
Lecture: Evolution & Natural selection
Handouts: n/a
Suggested media: 

  • Life, Death, and Taxonomy podcast (Link)
  • Alfred Russel Wallace (Link)
  • The Feather Heist – This American Life podcast (Link)

Wednesday | September 19

PRECURSORS TO PLANTS + EARLY PLANTS
BACTERIA, ALGAE + MOSSES

Our search for a definition of life and for the subset of life we call plants illuminates the difficulty of establishing clear boundaries in taxonomy. A few oddball organisms have been historically included within the student of plants. Today we’ll look at the organisms and see how they relate to and differ from plants.

Read for today: Ch 19, 20
Assignments: Sign up for presentations: link
Lecture: Early Plants
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Moss
  • A Blooming History, 3 part series on the development of Botany (link)

Wednesday | September 26

CELLS
THE FUNDAMENTAL UNIT OF LIFE

Cells are the fundamental unit of life. We’ll look at cell theory and then dive into the component parts of a generic cell and then focus in on the unique features of a plant cell. We’ll also look at some of the diversity within plant cells.

Read for today: Ch 2, 3
Due today: TBD
Lecture: (ppt)
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • The Hidden Life of the Cell (link)
  • The Cell, 3 part series (link)

Wednesday | September 26

TISSUES + PRIMARY GROWTH
WHAT MAKES UP A PLANT

Cells differentiate and arranged within a plant in specific and repeated ways. Groups of cells that perform specific functions are called tissues. Today we’ll discuss the basic tissue types and their functions.

Read for today: Ch 5
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Tissues
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • A gem from the past (link)

Wednesday | October 3

MIDTERM #1

Midterm includes questions on materials covered in lecture, readings, and lab activities.

Read for today: Review
Due today: Nothing

Wednesday | October 17

SEEDS
ANATOMY, GERMINATION, AND DISPERSAL MECHANISMS

We’ll look at the anatomy of a plant seed and the great variety in seeds morphology. We’ll discuss how a seed’s appearance can be used to predict how it is dispersed.

Read for today: Ch 9
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Seeds
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • Svalbard Seed Vault by Veritasium (link)
  • Rosemary & Thyme: A cozy mystery series (link)
  • The Seedy Side of Plants (link)
  • Seed: The Untold Story (link)
  • Seeds of Time (link)

Wednesday | October 24

ROOTS
A PLANT’S ANCHOR

Roots are the plants interface with the world of solids. We’ll look at the common functions of roots – water/nutrient absorption, storage, and stability – as well as some unique adaptations some plants have

Read for today: Ch 6
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Roots
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • Lecture on Roots (link)
  • Intelligent Trees (link)
  • Private Life of Plants (link)

Monday | October 31

LEAVES

Why is the green world green and not black or purple or red? We’ll look in depth at the functions of leaves and why they are shaped the way they are. We’ll also look at species that have tweaked their leaves to perform rather un-plantlike functions.

Read for today: Ch 4 & 8
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Leaves & Photosynthesis
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • Botany: A Blooming History (link)

Monday | October 31

LEAVES + Photosynthesis

Why is the green world green and not black or purple or red? We’ll look in depth at the functions of leaves and why they are shaped the way they are. We’ll also look at species that have tweaked their leaves to perform rather un-plantlike functions.

Read for today: Ch 4 & 8
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Leaves & Photosynthesis
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • Botany: A Blooming History (link)

Wednesday | November 14

MIDTERM #2

Midterm includes questions on materials covered in lecture, readings, and lab activities.

Read for today: Review
Due today: TBD

Wednesday | November 21

NO CLASS

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday | November 7

FLOWERS AND REPRODUCTION

Darwin called flowers an abominable mystery. We’ll look at the reproductive system of angiosperms, the most diverse plant group on earth.

Read for today: Ch 9, 12, 13
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Flowers & Reproduction
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • The First Flower (link)

Wednesday | December 5

NATURAL COMMUNITIES
ADAPTATIONS TO EXTREMES

From Wetland Woodland Wildland: “A natural community is an interacting assemblage of organisms, their physical environment, and the natural processes that affect them.” We’ll look at the natural community concept as it pertains to the Vermont landscape.

Read for today: Wetland Woodland Wildland pp 56-75 (available here)
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Natural Communities
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes (link)

Wednesday | December 12

HUMANS + PLANTS

We’ll look at the intersection between the human world and the botanical world with a focus on invasive species, biodiversity, and conservation.

Read for today: Ch 27
Due today: TBD
Lecture: Conservation
Handouts: TBD
Suggested media: 

  • Human Planet (hard to find)

Monday | December 19

FINAL EXAM

Midterm includes questions on materials covered in lecture, readings, and lab activities.

Read for today: Review

Student Presentation Schedule

  • TBD

Lectures

Week 1: Intro to Botany
Week 2: Evolution (Part I) and Natural Selection (Part II)
Week 3: Early Plants
Week 4: Cells
Week 5: Tissues
Week 7: Seeds
Week 8: Roots
Week 9: Leaves (Part I) and Photosynthesis (Part II)
Week 10: Flowers/Reproduction (Part I) and Flowers (Part II)
Week 12: Secondary Growth and Water Transport
Week 14: Natural Communities
Week 15: Conservation + Invasive Species

Assignments

Study #1 – Animals

Experiment #2 – Plants

  • Mammals/Birds: February 8 (25 pts)
  • Skulls: April 20 (25 pts)
  • ​Natural Communities: April 20 (25 pts)

Resources