EEB304H - Field Botany



Course Activities

The Field Botany course provides an opportunity for students to learn about the Ontario flora in terms of both its taxonomic composition and some of the vegetation types that arise from the interaction between particular combinations of species and local environmetal conditions. We do this by a combination of looking at plants in the field and bringing them back to the classroom in order to study them in more detail. In this way, over the two weeks of the course, students are exposed to a variety of field and laboratory methods that are used to study and document plants and vegetation.

More details of specific activities referred to in the course outline are given below.

Luther Bog

Luther Bog - Road trips are used to visit habitats that are not represented at Jokers Hill; Luther Bog is one such distinctive habitat with many plant species that are not found at Jokers Hill.

Learning about the Ecological Land Classification system

Examining a soil sample

Ecological Land Classification (ELC) - The Field Botany course includes a brief introduction to the ELC, given by D. Leadbeater, an experienced user of the system.

Species report - Prior to the beginning of the course I sent students a message in which I assigned you a species that is fairly common at Jokers Hill. Students should research this species using the resources suggested in that message, and other found in the library or online. What other aspects of this species are of interest, or intersect with other of your interests? What is the significance of the unitalicized part of the name? After your initial presentation on this species students will have a chance to visit the ROM Green Plant Herbarium to consult specimens of your species. Prepare a brief 1-2 page report on your species, emphasizing the information obtained from the TRT specimens you examined and submit it to the instructor by e-mail not later than Wednesday, 17 May.

Plant Collecting - In the course outline parts of several days are consecrated to "Plant collecting." This is a general term for going outdoors and looking at plants in different habitats, emphasizing different habitats and different aspects of the plants' biology and ecology. If it results in making collections of plants this will be mainly so as to be able to study them in greater detail in the classroom. While a small plant collection is part of the course requirements, the emphasis will not be on making specimens, especially of common species.

Plant Identification - Instead, we will be looking at and collecting plants in order to learn how they are organized so as to be able to use the specialized vocabulary needed to take advantage of the technical literature for plant identification. Ideally, as a result of this course students will not only have learned how to use this literature effectively, but also will have learned to recognize many of the more common Ontario species.

Evening lectures - These are used to introduce new topics, or to amplify points made during the day. Generally they will be short enough that students will have plenty of time in which to look at plants collected during the day, and to work on other aspects of the course.

Trips - These are intended to expose students to other aspects of field botany or to habitats that are unavailable at Jokers Hill.

Vegetation sampling and data analysis - Students will gain some exposure to the way in which their knowledge of plant species can be put to use in producing a quantitative description of vegetation. Such descriptions may be part of an inventory, perhaps as part of an environmental impact assessment, or they may be part of a research project aimed at understanding the way in which plant species respond to environmental factors.

Solo afternoon - Finally! A chance to get off by yourself to look at plants in peace and quiet.

Work on research project - Just that.

| Course outline | Facilities | Activities | Projects | Guide to Plant Collecting & Identification | Reading List|

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