BIO 303: Plant Diversity and Evolution

Advanced undergraduate students, and graduate students by permission, fall semesters 2019, 2021

This 4-cr course serves as an introduction to the biology and evolution of the land plant clade. We will use contemporary phylogenetic information as a framework to explore the 400+ million years of land plant evolution and diversification. We will focus primarily on seed plants – gymnosperms and angiosperms – which dominate the Earth’s flora of today. Course will examine major trends in plant evolution highlighting information and examples from morphology, physiology, ecology, development, paleontology and biogeography. Lecture and laboratory sessions required.

BIO 549: Phylogenetic Biology and Analysis

Graduate and advance undergraduate students, fall semesters 2018, 2023

Phylogenies, or trees, are basic branching diagrams that provide a powerful tool for comparative biology, from the study of relationships between organisms or their genes, to an understanding of the evolutionary history of life itself. This 4-cr course covers the basic theory and practice of phylogenetic inference – how to reconstruct and use trees to answer questions in areas such as ecology, character evolution, systematics, biogeography, and macroevolution.
This 4-credit course is intended for graduate and advanced undergraduate students with little or no experience in phylogenetic methods, or their applications, but proficiency in using
computers running Mac, Windows, UNIX/Linux operating systems.
Requirements include active participation, homework assignments, and a term project, which will be presented orally at the end of the semester. Students are encouraged to focus on organisms that they are studying for their thesis or dissertation research projects, making this course an excellent way to accomplish preliminary research results for their degree projects, funding proposals, and publications.

PLB 502: Perspectives in Plant Biology and Conservation

Graduate and advance undergraduate students, fall semesters 2020, 2022

This 3-cr course will provide students with an overview of current topics in plant biology and will introduce some of the practical tools used in studies of plant biology, ecology, and conservation (e.g., field and lab methods, seed banking, federal lands management, rare plants and conservation genetics, phylogenetics, urban horticulture, and GIS/spatial analysis). This team-taught course draws on the expertise and research projects of faculty from Arizona State University, the research and conservation staff of the Desert Botanical Garden, as well as educators and scientists from state and federal government agencies and NGOs. Invited
speakers will offer a presentation on the research they are engaged in, insights into their career paths, and provide examples of student projects for the semester.

PLB 591/BIO 498: Current Topics in Plant Biology, Plant domestication, breeding, and genomics

Graduate and advance undergraduate students, spring semester 2022

This was a 1-cr participatory seminar offered spring semester 2022, focused on what has been learned about the processes and consequences of domestication in common domesticated crop species from genomic-level analyses. Students expected to offer a presentation and lead discussion on genome and
domestication of a plant species of their choice. 

Topics explored



Plant evolution

Classification skills

Comparison methods

History of life