Plant Biology

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Cognomi M-Z
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 

Pre-requisites not required

Final Examination: 

The student will be asked to demonstrate a thorough comprehension regarding the constitutive topics covered in all five training objectives. Students will perform five tests by using the e-learning platform. Four tests are intermediate, i.e. scheduled during the course; the fifth one coincides with the official date of the exam session. Tests consist of multiple-choice test, corresponding tests, written text, figures and table interpretation. Each test is considered passed with the minimum score of 18/30. The final score is the mean of all the five evaluative tests. The use of the e-learning platform also makes it possible to assess the student's ability to use self-assessment systems.
In subsequent exam sessions the verification will take place in the same way, considering a longer time available being the two tests performed on the same day. On the other hand, the student can opt for the oral exam.

Voto Finale

The present course is in the first year, aims at training the students on the study of the form and function of plants, from cell to tree, and their adaptation to the environment. The same also aims to provide the basis for applied approaches, which students will encounter during their academic training. Students are encouraged to acquire greater and conscious independence in self-evaluation of their work and their ability to learn through the use of the e-learning platform.

Expected learning outcomes
The students are expected to:
• describe the morphological and functional traits, included the basic biochemical process of a plant cell
• explain the differences among plant, animal, fungal, and bacterial cell model
• identify the main taxonomic phyla
• explain the phylogenetic relationship among the plant phyla
• analyse the different morpho-physiological responses to both abiotic and biotic environmental factors

The frontal lessons cover the following topics (7.25 cfu, 58h):

Plant cell (14h, training objective 1)
• Cell wall: structure and function
• Plasmodesmata and cytodieresis
• Plastid: types of plastids, ultrastructure and function
• Vacuole: structure and function
• Cell turgor
• Expansion of plant cell walls during cellular growth

Tissues and Morphology
• Plant tissues: meristematic, parenchimatic, tegumental, mechanical, conductive, secretory
• Primary and secondary growth
• Morphology and anatomy of the organs in relation to their physiological function

• Photosynthesis of C3, C4 and CAM plants
• Photorespiration
• Sap and sieve flows
• Tropisms and nastic movements
• Roots and gravitropism, nutrient uptake, symbiosis with bacteria and mycorrhiza
• Photoperiodism
• Seed germination and dormancy

Plant systematic
• Sexsual, asexsual (vegetative) and sporogony reproductions. Apomixis and metagenetic cycles.
• Systematics of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms

Laboratory cover the following activities (0.75 cfu, 9h):
• Extraction, separation and absorbance spectrum of photosynthetic pigments (2h)
• Diffusion, osmosis and plasmolysis
• Anatomical sections and staining of stem and root of Angiosperm and Gymnosperm species (2h)
• Stereo- and micro-scopy observations of vascular cryptograms, bryophytes and algae (3h)


Slides of the lessons, lecture notes and scientific papers can be downloaded from the Elearning platform or provided by the lecturer. The following book text are suggested:
• Evert R.F., Eichorn S.E. Biology of Plants (8th edition). 2013, Palgrave Macmillan

The addressed topics will be integrated by presentation of picture slides, graphics, diagrams and videos useful to clarify the concepts.
The aim of the course is also to stimulate the student's self-learning skills by stimulating, independently from the teacher, the search in the web for further information on specific aspects of the course.
For laboratory activities, students are divided in small groups and are assigned a location for the self-conduct experiment. The access to the rooms is allowed only if equipped with white coat. The presence of the lecturer and one or more assistants will be guaranteed. Lab attendance is mandatory, and absence should not exceed 25% (1 activity) of the laboratory planned program.

Meetings preferably by appointment (by email request). Lecturer answers emails only if signed and with domain
Lecturer is available for meeting aimed at clarifying and analyzing the treated topics, preferably for groups of students.
( division A-L; division M-Z)


Parent course