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Lecture Syllabus

The Biology of Plants and Fungi

LIFE 2023

Syllabus for Lecture, Fall 2012


Stephen K. Herbert, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Room 50, Agriculture Building, Phone 307 766-3103, e-mail sherbert@uwyo.edu

Office hours

9 to 10 AM M, W, F in Room 50 of the Agriculture Building or by appointment. Please make appointments by e-mail. I will respond to e-mail within 24 hours whenever possible.

Meeting times and places

Lecture meets at 8:00 to 8:50 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in Room 214 of the Classroom Building

Lab sections meet at the times listed below in Room 223 of the Aven Nelson Memorial Building, which is immediately south of the Classroom Building.

LIFE 2023-10:  Mondays from 2:10PM to 5:00 PM
LIFE 2023-11:  Mondays from 7:00PM to 9:50PM
LIFE 2023-12:  Tuesdays from 2:10PM to 5:00PM
LIFE 2023-13:  Tuesdays from 7:00PM to 9:50PM


The Biology of Plants by Raven, Evert, and Eichorn, 7th edition, copyright 2005, ISBN 0-7167-1007-2

Supplementary materials for this text are available at http://www.whfreeman.com/Catalog/static/whf/raven/


This course includes required laboratory meetings. A separate laboratory syllabus covers the laboratory part of the course.


Course objectives

LIFE 2023 surveys the biology of non-animal life on Earth and includes topics ranging from molecular and cellular biology to ecology and evolution. The subject matter is vast and LIFE 2023 will necessarily cover only the most important facts and concepts. You must learn the following:

1. How plant cells are constructed and how they work. How they are different from animal cells and how these differences have affected the history and nature of plant life.

2. How plant cells are specialized and organized into the multicellular bodies of flowering plants and how these cells work together to carry out organismal functions.

3. The diversity of non-animal life, from bacteria to mushrooms to redwood trees.

4. The mechanisms of evolution and the evolutionary history of non-animal life.

5. The importance of plants and other non-animal life to human life.

LIFE 2023 will also introduce the methods and principles of biology, illustrate the connections of biology with daily life, and provide a solid intellectual foundation for other courses at the University of Wyoming.



Letter grades will be awarded based on the percentage of 600 total points earned in the course, as shown below. There will be no curving of scores.

A = 90% to 100%

B = 80% to 89%

C = 70% to 79%

D = 60% to 69%

F = less than 60%

Point values of exams and other assignments are as follows:

Lecture exams 1 through 4, 100 points each =                                 400 points total
    (Please note that one half of Exam 4 will be comprehensive)

Short paper on plant or fungal biology topic =                                   100 points total
   (Format will be provided)

12 Lab exercises, 10 points each =                                                   120 points total

2 Lab practical exams, 20 points each =                                             40 points total

                                                TOTAL POINTS POSSIBLE = 660


Exam questions will be multiple choice, matching, and short essay. Some questions may ask you to diagram a concept, work an equation, predict the outcome of an experiment, or explain the results of an experiment. Some questions may be synthetic, meaning that you will be presented with an unfamiliar situation and asked to analyze it using what you have learned in class. For short answer or essay questions, points will be awarded based on how much of the complete answer you convey clearly. For matching or multiple choice questions, points will be awarded for correct responses and subtracted for incorrect responses.

Exams 1 through 3 will cover lecture material since the previous exam. One half of Exam 4 will be comprehensive.

Short paper on Plant or Fungal Biology topic

Please submit a short paper on a topic of general interest that has a clear plant or fungal biology aspect. For example, the topic could be athlete's foot and the biology aspect could be how new medications affect the fungal pathogen that is the cause of the disease. Length of the paper should be 3 to 5 pages of single-spaced text plus references. Please use the following format:

Title - A short, descriptive phrase that describes the central topic of the paper as clearly and simply as possible.

Introduction - Describe the topic in less than one page. Include a short statement of how and why the topic is of interest with supporting data. For example, you could state that athlete's foot affects 40 million people in the US alone, can lead to more serious diseases in 5% of cases, costs $1 billion annually in lost productivity, and that the market for athlete's foot medication is worth $2 billion annually.

Plant or Fungal Biology - Discuss the plant or fungal biology aspect of your topic. For example, you could describe how the latest medications inhibit the polymerization of chitin in the fungal cell wall by binding to a specific polymerization enzyme that is absent in humans, making the medication relatively non-toxic. You could also describe how the biology of the fungus makes it especially difficult to cure or how forms that are resistant to medications are evolving. As much as possible, discuss biological mechanisms at the level of cells and molecules.

Future Significance - Predict the future significance of your topic. For example, you could describe how athlete's foot could be eradicated within 5 years by newly developed vaccines if production costs for the vaccine can be decreased.

References - Use the Wikipedia format to citing references. Include the digital object identifier (doi) and a link to your source whenever possible.

Please submit your topic for approval to the instructor by e-mail no later than November 9. Submit the paper itself to your lab instructor as a pdf attachment to an e-mail no later than November 30. Your paper will be graded by December 7. You may revise and resubmit your paper for a better grade no later than December 14.

Plagiarism and academic dishonesty

Plagiarism means presenting someone else's writing as your own. This includes copying with slight changes and using direct quotes without quotation marks. Plagiarism is a serious offense because it destroys the learning process. In this class, plagiarism will result in zero points awarded to all participants for the writing assignment in which the plagiarism occurred. Please note that I may use plagiarism detection software to determine if material has been taken from the internet without attribution. The following practices will help you avoid plagiarism.

When writing, consult your sources, take notes, and then write from your notes

Write alone.

Do not allow other students to borrow your writing.

Never copy text from the internet and paste it into your writing

Cheating on exams or other academic dishonesty will also result in zero points for all parties involved. Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are further defined in University Regulation 6-802.

Disability Support

If you have a physical or learning disability, we encourage you to speak with your lab instructor about appropriate accomodations.  In addition, there other resources available to you across campus that may assist you.  Contact the University Disability Support Services (UDSS) in Room 3300, Knight Hall and for more information.

Rescheduled exams, rescheduled labs and grades of incomplete

Exams and lab exercises may be rescheduled for individual students if they are in time conflict with an official university function, if the student has three exams on the same day, or in cases of family emergency. Rescheduled exams and lab exercises must be completed within 2 weeks of the regularly scheduled time, if possible.

Grades of incomplete will be awarded at the discretion of the instructor but only under extraordinary circumstances.


Schedule of lecture topics and reading

This schedule is subject to revision. Revisions will be indicated in red text. The recommended readings are pages from the required text and material available on the world wide web.

     DATE                                                      TOPIC                                                               READING      

    Aug 27

    Aug 29

    Aug 31

    Scientific Method, Scientific Thinking, and the Value of Science

    Chemical Constituents of Plants: Carbohydrates and Lipids

    Chemical Constituents of Plants: Secondary Compounds
    pp 1 - 14

    pp 14 - 34

    Sept 3

    Sept 5

    Sept 7


    Plant Cell Structure: Chloroplasts

    Plant Cell Structure: Vacuoles

    pp 35 - 70

    Sept 10

    Sept 12

    Sept 14

    Plant Cell Structure: The Cell Wall

    Plant Cell Function: Photosynthesis and Carbon Metabolism

    Plant Cell Function: Photosynthesis and Carbon Metabolism

    pp 115 - 139
    Sept 17

    Sept 19

    Sept 21

    Plant Cell Function: Cell Expansion and Plant Cell Growth
Rescheduled for Oct 3
    Plant Cell Function: Cell Expansion and Plant Cell Growth
Rescheduled for Oct 3
    EXAM 1
    PP 616 - 618

    Sept 24

    Sept 26

    Sept 28

    Plant Structure: Tissues and Organs of Vascular Plants

    Plant Structure: Roots and Shoots

    Plant Structure: Shoots and Leaves
    pp 510 - 527

    pp 528 - 546

    pp 547 - 579
    Oct 1

    Oct 3

    Oct 5

    Plant Structure: Meristems

    Plant Structure: Wood

    Plant Function: The Movement of Water
    pp 510 - 527

    pp 580 - 601

    pp 71 - 87
    Oct 8

    Oct 10

    Oct 12

    Plant Function: The Movement of Water, continued

    Plant Function: The Movement of Sap

    Plant Function: Responses to Light
    pp 667 - 686


    pp 622 - 644
    Oct 15

    Oct 17

    Oct 19

    Plant Function: Responses to Light

    Plant Function: Responses to Chemical Signals

    EXAM 2

    pp 603 - 621
    Oct 22

    Oct 24

    Oct 26
   Evolution: Variation and Selection

Evolution: Causes of Genetic Variation

Evolution: More Causes of Genetic Variation

   pp 1 - 14

   pp 140 - 162


    Oct 29

    Oct 31

    Nov 2

    Evolution: Speciation

    Evolution: Systematics

    Fungi: An Overview

   pp 198 - 217

   pp 219 - 237

   pp 260 - 266

    Nov 4

    Nov 7

    Nov 9

    Fungi: Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota, Glomeromycota

    Fungi: Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Deuteromycota

    Fungi: Fungal pathogens and symbionts

             (Submit topic for short paper to instructor no later than this date)

   pp 266 - 269

   pp 269 - 282

   pp 282 - 295

    Nov 12

    Nov 14

    Nov 16
    Algae: An Overview

    Algae: The Chlorophytes

    Exam 3
   pp 561-576

   pp 561-576

    Nov 19

    Nov 21

    Nov 23

    Special Lecture: Photosynthesis and Biofuels


   No reading


    Nov 26

    Nov 28

    Nov 30

    Plants: Non-vascular Plants

    Plants: Seedless Vascular Plants

    Plants: Non-flowering Seed Plants
           (Submit short paper to lab instructor no later than this date)
    pp 345 - 367

  pp 368 - 408

  pp 408 - 433
    Dec 4

    Dec 5

    Dec 7

    Plants: Flowering Plants

    Plants: Flowering Plants

    Plants: The History of Plant Life
    pp 434 - 451

    pp 452 - 474

    pp 1 - 14, 475 - 495
    Dec 14
    Exam 4
    (Scheduled for 8 to 10 AM. Please note that one half of this exam is 

(Submit revision of short paper no later than this date)


Steve Herbert,
Oct 1, 2012, 4:57 PM
Steve Herbert,
Nov 5, 2012, 5:54 AM
Steve Herbert,
Nov 30, 2012, 4:30 AM