Degree course: 
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Exercise (16 hours)

Knowledge of the topics addressed by the botanical classes of the second year, in particular "Biological and Taxonomic Diversity of Plants" and "Environmental Botany"

There will be a unique final written examination with three open questions focusing on the topics addressed during the class. For every question the maximum score will be 10, allowing to achieve a final score of 30/30. The minimum sufficient score for each question (6/10) will be achieved providing the main knowledge of the main topics and problems addressed by the specific question, with emphasis on the most important issues, as underlined during the class. The evaluation will increase depending on the completeness of the answers for each question, of the details of the knowledge and information provided, of the capability of the student to identify and describe the relation among the selected topics. The evaluation 30/30 with laude will be attributed when the student preparation will be more than excellent.

Voto Finale

The main aim of this class is to provide to the student specific knowledge on the following main topics: biodiversity, evolution of plants, principles of Geobotany and Principles and Applications of Environmental Restoration using plants. These topics will be addressed starting from the concepts of "species" and "biodiversity", analyzing the best methods to investigate the environment analyzing and quantifying the biological diversity, with special emphasis on the links with conservation biology applied to plants. Moreover the topics will address the main steps of the evolution of the terrestrial plants, also in relation with past climatic and environmental changes experienced by our planet. This knowledge will allow to focus on Geobotany with special reference on the relations of plants with their environment (e.g. climate, soil) and on the applications of Geobotany to achieve environmental restoration using plants. The class will be held analyzing the scientific literature and true case studies provided by national and international research projects and experiences. The knowledge obtained by following this class will be useful for the student specialization allowing to better approach both the thesis as well as the master degree. Practical activities will include visiting of research laboratories and museums.

At the end of this class the student will be able to:
1. discuss the most important and up to date topics concerning the study of plants
2. locate each plant group in the frame of a phylogenetic and evolutive context;
3. Identify the most important environmental and climatic drivers affecting plant evolution, past and actual distribution
4. discuss and use on the main methods of environmental restoration using plants
5. use proxy data achieved from plants to reconstruct the processes shaping the evolution of ecosystems
6. discuss on the best methods to investigate the reconstruction of plant evolution
7. be able to properly explain the topics addressed by the class,
8. develop a critical and indipendent point of view on the topics addressed by the class
9. develop his/her own learning abilities also through the link between the different topics

The class is organized in four main topics: a) biodiversity; b) evolution, C) Geobotany, d) Environmental Restoration

A) Biodiversity
Biodiversity: definitions and components, biodiversity types (α, β, ϒ) and factors influencing biodiversity.
Methods to analyse and quantify biodiversity at different scales and focusing on different scientific problems.
Lessons: 4 hours
Biodiversity patterns at global scale. Latitudinal and geographical diversity gradients and factors driving the distribution trends of the main taxa (including also an evolutive approach). Biodiversity hot-spots.
Lessons: 4 hours
Definitions of species rarity. Sampling strategies and methods.
Lessons: 2 hours
Conservation biology
Main threats to biodiversity (HIPPOC), main factors driving species extinctions. Species conservation issues. Definitions of species conservation status according to IUCN and Red Lists.
Lessons: 4 hours

B. Evolution
Relation between plant evolution and the most important environmental and climatic events happened at global scale, focusing on different geological periods and on the effect of past climatic changes and main tectonic and geological events. Examples of the origin and evolution of particular floristic elements; mountain flora and desert flora.
Methods for the analysis and the reconstruction of plant evolution with reference to molecular tools, including the concept of “molecular clock” for the dating of the main evolutive splits. Examples from the actual scientific literature on the use of these methods applied to the main groups of land plants.
Lessons: 10 hours

C. Geobotany
Main issues of ecological Geobotany: relations and distribution patterns of plants with the main environmental drivers (light, temperature, water, soil chemistry, surface instability, disturbance, etc) and climatic drivers. Case studies of geobotanical analyses applied for the identification and reconstruction of environmental problems (e.g. landslides impacts and recolonization, glacier forefield colonization, etc).
Lessons:6 hours

D. Environmental Restoration
Main issues, application fields (e.g. slope stabilization, land erosion, land consolidation) main methods and techniques involving the use of plants and the approaches of the green engineering.
Lessons:6 hours
Visit to the Palinology and paleoclimate Lab of Modena-Reggio University
Plant derived proxy data (e.g. pollen) and their use for the reconstruction of palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental conditions and events with specific examples relating to palinology
Laboratory: 8 hours

Visit to the Botanical Gardens of Naples and Florence
Laboratory: 16 hours


The teaching activities will include lectures and field practices/training. The lectures will be performed through videoconference turning the lecture site between Como and Varese. During the lessons the students' participation will be stimulated by the exam of case studies and of scientific papers focusing on the topics addressed by the class. Three field activities (8 hours each) for visiting laboratories or museums will be carried out
Lessons in class: 36 hours
External activites (labs, field labs): 24 hours

The visiting time will be personalized and will be fixed by e-mail (