Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 6
Hours 48
Period 1^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code ST03 3S602


Basic knowledge of general biology and cell biology. It is recommended to have passed the exam of Principles of Biology before to take the classes of this module.

Development of the course

The course consists of both theoretical classes (5 credits, 48 hours) and practical laboratory classes (1 credit, 8 hours). In the course of the theoretical classes, plant and algal samples, both living (leaves, flowers or other types of plant material) and non-living (dried herbarium specimens), will be shown to the students.   
The slides of the presentations used in the theoretical classes will be available to the students as PDF files downloadable from Dr Rindi’s personal webpage in the website of the Università Politecnica delle Marche (www.univpm.it). 

Learning outcomes

The course will provide the students with a good general knowledge of plant and algal biology. Students will gain a good knowledge of the diversity of plants, algae and fungi, as well as detailed knowledge of the morphology, anatomy and reproduction of these organisms. Special attention will be given to the interactions of plants and algae with environment and their use as environmental indicators. At the same time, the course will also provide basic knowledge on some general environmental topics (climate change and its effect on natural communities) and the use of plants and algae for applied purposes (production of biofuels, production of metabolites with pharmaceutical properties, biofiltering). 

Ability to apply the knowledge:
The students will gain: ability to identify plants and algae assigning them to the main plant and algal groups; knowledge of the cytological and anatomical features of the main plant and algal groups; knowledge of plants and algae important as environmental indicators; knowledge of plant and algal assemblages considered important as from the environmental point of view. 


Contents (theoretical classes, 5 credits, 40 hours):
General characteristics of plants and algae. 
Photosynthetic prokaryotes: the cyanobacteria (phylum Cyanophyta).
Endosymbiosis, evolution of plastids and origin of photosynthetic eukaryotes.
General features of algae (thallus organization, cell structures specific to algae, reproduction, life histories).
The main groups of eukaryotic algae: Rhodophyta, Heterokontophyta, Dinophyta, Cryptophyta, Haptophyta, Euglenophyta. Green algae: Chlorophyta and Streptophyta; diversity and relationships with land plants.
Land plants: origin and general features. The Bryophytes (Bryopsida, Hepaticopsida, Anthoceropsida). 
Vascular plants without seeds: general characteristics; the Pteridophytes (Arthrophyta, Licophyta, Psilotophyta, Pterophyta).
Characteristics of the plant cell: cell wall, plastids, vacuole.
The tissues of the vascular plants.
Structure of the root.
Structure of the stem.
Structure of the leaf.
The gymnosperms: characteristics, origin of the seed, functional adaptations; Coniferophyta, Cycadophyta, Gingkophyta, Gnetophyta.
The angiosperms: characteristics, differences between monocots and dicots, functional adaptations. Structure of the flower. Structure of the seed. Structure of the fruit and types of fruits.
The seagrasses. Structure of Posidonia oceanica; the meadows of Posidonia oceanica and their importance as environmental indicators.  

Practical laboratory classes (1 credit, 8 hours/student):

The course includes four practical classes (2 hours each):

I. Microscopic examination of microalgae and seaweeds of the shore of Ancona. 
II. Microscopic examination of plant tissues.
III. Preparation and microscopic observation of slides with cross sections of leaves of angiosperms and gymnosperms.
IV. Preparation and microscopic observation of slides with cross sections of stems and roots of monocot and dicot angiosperms.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The evaluation of the preparation of the student will consist of a final oral exam. The exam will consist of three main questions concerning the topics of the course. The first question will concern a group of plants or algae: the student will be expected to describe its general characteristics, its reproduction, distribution and ecological features. The second question will be based on the observation of an image depicting a plant or plant tissue, of which the student will be expected to give a detailed description and explanation. The third question will concern cytological or anatomical characteristics of plants or algae, or another topic taught during the course.  

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes:
In the exam, the student will be expected to demonstrate good knowledge and understanding of the topics taught in the course. The mark will be based on the overall preparation of the student, the depth of the knowledge of the topics taught and the capacity to present them with an appropriate language.

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is assigned as a fraction of 30. The exam is successfully passed when the mark is equal to or higher than 18/30. The highest mark can be assigned cum laude.

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The mark of the Integrated Course of which this module is part (together with the mark of the module of Animal Biodiversity) will be calculated as overall mark based on the marks of the two modules. 

Recommended reading

PASQUA G., ABBATE G., FORNI C. Botanica generale e diversità vegetale. III edizione Piccin.
SMITH A.M., COUPLAND G., DOLAN L., HARBERD N., JONES J., MARTIN C., SABLOWSKI R., AMEY A. 2010. Plant Biology. Garland Science.

Useful online resources 
Videos listed and linked in the section “LINK UTILI” of Dr Rindi’s personal webpage.
Online Botany Atlas of the University of Turin: http://www.atlantebotanica.unito.it/page.asp 
Acta Plantarum - flora delle regioni italiane: http://www.actaplantarum.org/
AlgaeBase: http://www.algaebase.org/
Facebook page of the Italian Botanical Society:

  • Scienze ambientali e protezione civile

Università Politecnica delle Marche
P.zza Roma 22, 60121 Ancona
Tel (+39) 071.220.1, Fax (+39) 071.220.2324
P.I. 00382520427