Field Plant Taxonomy and Biodiversity Conservation

Spring
Spring 2021
Olympia
Olympia
Daytime
Day
Junior-Senior
Junior–Senior
Class Size: 50
16
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

botany, ecology, environmental history
Calabria, Lalita square
botany, phytochemistry, systematics

How can we identify, track, characterize and measure patterns in floristic diversity? How can plant taxonomists help to assess the health of ecosystems? How can scientists help to protect species and preserve the ecosystems that support them? This program fosters field plant taxonomy skills needed to address such questions for both vascular and non-vascular plants (bryophytes). Lecture topics will include plant systematics, ecology and evolution, as well as plant biodiversity and conservation. Students will learn about the importance of herbaria as the basis for scientific inquiry including how plant specimens that reside in herbaria can serve as both physical and genetic resources for examining patterns in species diversity and distribution.  

In lab, students will learn how to use technical dichotomous keys for identifying unknown plants. We will spend time in the field and laboratory discussing diagnostic characters of plant families with emphasis on both vascular and non-vascular plants. In the field, students will have the opportunity to learn vegetation sampling methods including characterizing the average abundance of species in plot data and getting a complete inventory of plants at a site. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to explore plant biodiversity and conservation topics, including threats to Pacific Northwest plant communities such as climate change as well as small and large scale disturbances (e.g. fire, grazing, and air pollution). Each student will complete an individual bryophyte collection which will be donated to the Evergreen herbarium.

A multi-day field trip to Sun Lakes State Park as well as multiple day-long field trips will give students an opportunity to learn about Pacific Northwest plant communities in the field, including sagebrush steppe, prairies, oak woodlands and coniferous forests. Students will be expected to maintain a detailed field journal and will be taught basic botanical illustration skills to support this work. Field trips are an essential part of the program and required. Students will also learn to properly collect plant specimens and prepare museum-quality collections that will be deposited in the Evergreen Herbarium.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

conservation, ecological restoration, floristic research methods, forestry, natural resource management, plant ecology, plant taxonomy and vegetation ecology.

16

Credits per quarter

Prerequisites:

Introductory plant biology coursework that included evolutionary history, morphology, and systematics.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Fees:

$350 for a multi-day field trip to Sun Lakes State Park.

Upper division science credit:

Up to 16 upper-division science credits may be earned in field plant taxonomy, historical ecology, floristic research, and restoration ecology.

Junior-Senior
Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 50
Daytime

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia