Botany 241 tropical plant systematics fall 2014 Instructor




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BOTANY 241 TROPICAL PLANT SYSTEMATICS FALL 2014
Instructor David S. Barrington dbarring@zoo.uvm.edu. Work: 656-0431, Cell: 338-0313

241 Website: http://www.uvm.edu/~dbarring/241/
Regular Class Meetings (Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM, Torrey 303)
Texts (suggested – order on line):

Zomlefer, W.B. 1994. Guide to Flowering-Plant Families. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

Judd, W.S., C.S. Campbell, E.A. Kellogg, P.F. Stevens, and M.J. Donoghue. 2007. Plant systematics: a phylogenetic approach. 3rd edition. Sunderland, Massachisetts: Sinauer Press.

Mabberley, D.J. 1997. The Plant-Book. Cambridge, England. 2nd. ed. Cambridge Univ.

Press.
Course Abstract: This is the most exciting time in the history of plant systematics and evolution. Modern analytic tools (inferring phylogeny using cladistic methods) combined with DNA sequence characters have revolutionized the science. At the same time, the lure of the deep forests of the tropics remains irresistible, at least to some of us. My goals are three:


  1. to acquaint you with the diversity and biology of key tropical flowering-plant families

  2. give you substantial insight into the morphological diversity and evolution of flowering plants

  3. provide an introduction into the rich terrain of flowering-plant biogeography, pollination and dispersal ecology, and chemical and mechanical defenses

  4. touch on the ethnobotany of the plants as time permits


Approach: Al Gentry, one of the truly great tropical field botanists, provided insights into which flowering-plant families are the most common in the New World tropics. The 27 families that emerge from this analysis provide the backbone for the course. As we consider these families, all of the most interesting modern problems, methodologies, and ideas will come up for our consideration.
My central teaching objectives:

To teach the spot characters for the Gentry families.

To illustrate plant biology using the Gentry families.

To provide a working knowledge of current angiosperm phylogeny and its history.

To demonstrate current research through readings in the recent literature.
Things you need to know that I will end up reviewing or teaching in detail:
How phylogenetic inference works.

Basic biogeography.

Basic structure of flowering plants with knowledge of terminology.

Basic molecular biology.



How plants grow.

Evaluation: Evaluation of your work in this course is self-designed to a certain extent. There will be a midterm and a final. A separate research project is welcome; I will give more thoughts on this. By the time of the midterm you need to decide on how you want to be graded - that is what each of your course components will be worth.




KINDS OF INFORMATION AND QUESTIONS FOR BOTANY 241
(A definition of the intellectual landscape)
Systematists and other people interested in plant diversity are interested in a wide variety of information about plants, but the information all relates to a fairly defined set of questions. These form the substance of Botany 241. The most prominent questions we will address in the course relate to phylogeny, ecology, and biogeography – but the other questions always seem to crop up as well.


KIND OF INFORMATION

QUESTIONS RELATED TO THIS KIND OF INFORMATION

THINGS PEOPLE DO TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

  1. place in forest

What is this family’s ecological role in the forest (as canopy or understory tree, herb, epiphyte, liana, or parasite)?

Look at family members in their forest setting.

  1. phytochemistry

What is the medicinal importance of these plants, and what do these plants use these compounds for, usually in defense?

Identify chemical constituents, look for patterns of utility and relationship to herbivores.

  1. pollination and dispersal

How is pollen moved, how dedicated are the pollinators, how does the typical morphology of the family lend itself to pollination?

Watch the behavior of visitors to flowers, watch the behavior of fruit dispersers.

  1. phylogeny and origins

What is this family related to and how can you tell in the forest? What is the most primitive flowering plant?

Score characteristics of the plant groups and compare them.

  1. morphology

What are the typical features of members of this family?

Study the anatomy and morphology of family members, look for constant and varying features.

  1. non-medical economics (food and fiber etc.)

What do people use these plants for besides medicinally?

Identify non-medicinal uses of the plants through observation and literature review.

  1. spot characters

How do you tell members of this family when you are in the forest?

Figure out what characters are constant for the family that can be seen in the forest with a 10x lens or no help.

  1. biogeography

What historical and ecological factors determine the current distribution of members of this family?

Chart the distributions of family members, especially genera, and infer history and ecological constraints.


THE MOST PROMINENT FLOWERING-PLANT FAMILIES IN THE AMERICAN TROPICS

In 1988, the legendary Al Gentry listed the most common families of plants in three forests in tropical America (Annals Missouri Botanical Garden 75:1-34.). Here are his lists (order is from most to least important in each forest type:

low (hot), moist and wet low (hot), dry mid-elevation (cool), wet
(0-1000m, 0.5+m rain) (0-1000m, < 0.5m rain) (1000-2000m, >1m rain)

legumes legumes Lauraceae

Annonaceae Bignoniaceae Rubiaceae

Moraceae Rubiaceae Melastomataceae

Bignoniaceae Sapindaceae Euphorbiaceae

Lauraceae Capparaceae Moraceae

Rubiaceae Flacourtiaceae Guttiferae

Sapotaceae Euphorbiaceae legumes

Palmae Nyctaginaceae ferns

Euphorbiaceae Boraginaceae Araceae

Myristicaceae Cactaceae Palmae

Meliaceae Malpighiaceae

Sapindaceae

Considering these lists and the plants I find most prominently in the American tropics and including a couple of groups out of enthusiasm yields an arbitrary list of the 27 most important families in the American tropics. The families, in the APG classification order, consistute the order of discussion for this course.


ALPHABETICAL ORDER APG CLASSIFICATION ORDER



Acanthaceae

Annonaceae

Apocynaceae

Araceae

Arecaceae(Palmae)



Bignoniaceae

Bromeliaceae

Cactaceae

Clusiaceae(Guttiferae)

Ericaceae

Euphorbiaceae

Fabaceae(Leguminosae)

Gesneriaceae

Lauraceae

Loranthaceae etc.

Malpighiaceae

Malvaceae

Melastomataceae

Meliaceae and Sapindacea

Moraceae and Urticaceae

Myristicaceae

Nyctaginaceae

Orchidaceae

Piperaceae

Rubiaceae

Salicaceae

Sapotaceae

MAGNOLIIDS

Magnoliales

1. Annonaceae

2. Myristicaceae

Laurales

3. Lauraceae



Piperales

4. Piperaceae



MONOCOTS

Alismatales

5. Araceae



Asparagales

6. Orchidaceae

COMMELINIDS

Arecales

7. Arecaceae (Palmae)



Poales

8. Bromeliaceae



EUDICOTS

ROSIDS

ROSIDS I (Fabidae)



Malpighiales

9. Clusiaceae (Guttiferae)

10. Malpighiaceae

11. Salicaceae

12. Euphorbiaceae

Fabales

13. Fabaceae (Leguminosae)



Rosales

14. Moraceae and Urticaceae

ROSIDS II (Malvidae)

Myrtales

15. Melastomataceae



Sapindales

16. Meliaceae and Sapindaceae



Malvales

17. Malvaceae



ASTERIDS

Santalales

18. Loranthaceae etc.



Caryophyllales

19. Nyctaginaceae

20. Cactaceae

Ericales

21. Sapotaceae

22. Ericaceae

ASTERIDS I

Gentianales

23. Rubiaceae

24. Apocynaceae



Lamiales

25. Gesneriaceae



26. Acanthaceae

27. Bignoniaceae
THE CURRENT APG TREE OF ANGIOSPERM ORDERS, FROM THE APG WEBSITE


http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APWeb/welcome.html TREES

CRITICAL CHARACTERS
Botany 241, Tropical Plant Systematics
This is a list of characters that are likely to be useful in identifying plant families in the tropics, in situations where you have fresh material and a hand lens. I have purposely chosen the characters that also relate to the discussions of the phylogeny of angiosperm families as a whole, so that as you look for characters you can start to think about relationships. There are many more characters, many of which we will mention; these are just the common ones.
27 CRITICAL CHARACTERS FOR LEARNING

FAMILIES OF FLOWERING PLANTS


  1. life form

  2. leaf position

  3. leaf dissection

  4. leaf design/venation

  5. stipules

  6. secondary and tertiary vein patterns

  7. latex presence and color

  8. odor of crushed leaves

  9. sepal number

  10. calyx symmetry

  11. sepal fusion

  12. calyx estivation

  13. petal number

  14. corolla symmetry

  15. petal fusion

  16. corolla estivation

  17. stamen number relative to petal number

  18. stamen fusion

  19. anther dehiscence

  20. disc presence

  21. hypanthium presence

  22. carpel number

  23. carpel connation

  24. gynoecium symmetry

  25. placentation

  26. ovary position

27. fruit type




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