Plant Ecology Lab Syllabus Fall 2018

Tuesday mornings 8:30 - 11:20 am, rm OE 169

Lab Instructor: Andrea Salas   - lab phone 305-348-3415   

Attendance: Every week each student is expected to show up on time and stay for the whole lab period, every lab period, or until the instructor says you are done for the day.  Only one absence can be excused without affecting your final grade.  If you know you must be away, plan ahead and let the instructors know, and perhaps you can do something in advance or make up the missed activity

Attire: Please come to lab every week ready to work, and to get dirty, either in the greenhouse, lab, or field.  For work outside the lab room, a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and water bottle will protect you and make you more comfortable.  You may want to bring a change of clothes for lab, or for after lab; please do not wear fancy clothes, high-heeled shoes, or anything that might get damaged during lab activities. 

Planned activities: Students will participate in ten labs, working in groups. Members of each group will work together to do the activities, collect data, discuss data analysis, and maintain treatments and care for plants in the greenhouse (some of these duties can be shared among groups, as scheduled with the instructor).  The written lab report of each lab will be due within one week of completing the data collection. 

Each group is responsible to write a full lab report for each experiment.  One person from each group will take primary responsibility for data analysis, interpretation, and presentation of results for each lab exercise (written and oral). Data can and should be shared among the groups.  Every student will get a grade for every lab, based on the grade given to the written and oral report, weighted by their participation and teamwork with their lab group.  At the end of the course, each experiment will be presented to the class by students who sign up to work together to make the presentation - each student must sign up for one presentation.

Grading: Each lab will count for 9% of your lab grade (10 x 9 = 90 %; or if some lab does not work out, adjusted proportionally to the total number of labs).  The final 10% may be given for preparation, attitude, and cooperation.

Needed by every student for every lab:  a lab notebook, perhaps a write-in-the-rain field notebook, or a spiral notebook or a slim binder with looseleaf paper, and/or a clipboard; lined paper; pencils and pens. 

recommended lab textbook: Ambrose, H.W. III and K.P. Ambrose.  A Handbook of Biological Investigation, sixth edition.  Hunter Textbooks Inc.  ISBN 0-88725-266-4.

Labs that we will do:

              1) Functional anatomy of graminoids (wet vs. dry habitat dwellers) field observations, collection, and lab study

              2) Inducible defenses in plants? field experiment

              3) Phenotypic plasticity and ecotypic variation in plants

              4) Plant architecture and herbivore diversity

              5) Drought tolerance of native species and relative growth rates lab experiments

              6) Herbivory and secondary compounds - field assessment, damage, chemical analyses 

             7) Fire succession in pine rocklands - field lab

             8) Floral characteristics and pollination syndromes

             9) Pollinator behavior and flower preferences

          10) Seed dispersal



Wk 1 21st August presentation of syllabus - plans for the semester - seed preparation for germinations for later experiments - some seeds planted next day

Wk 2 - 28 Aug -  Functional anatomy of plants comparing upland and flood-tolerant species campus fieldtrip to observe and collect samples follow with lab study

Wk 3 4 Sep   Inducible defense in plants? fieldwork on FIU campus, choosing, marking, and damaging plants

Wk 4 11 September   Ecotypic variation and phenotypic plasticity

Wk 5 - 18 September - Plant architecture and herbivore diversity

Wk 6 25 September Lab work - Plant seedlings and set up for drought tolerance and relative growth rate experiments, using Senna ligustrina and Sophora tomentosa. 

Also harvest first group for relative growth rate experiment (measure, weight, dry, do not plant these!); plan subsequent harvests.

Wk 7 2 October - Revisit experimental plants and measure herbivory. Collect leaves for chemical analyses.

Saturday 6 October - Lecture/lab field trip to Kampong - ecological adaptations of tropical plants - 9 am - 1 pm

Wk 8 9 October Herbivory measurements in field; record characteristics of native plant species; collect leaf samples for chemical analyses.

Wk 9 - 16 October -  Secondary chemistry of native plants - lab work.

Saturday 20 or 27 October [depending on when EPAC is in Gainesville] - Barnacle Historic State Park - explore maritime hammock and  help with exotic control - 9 am - 1 pm 

Wk 10 - 23 October - Fire succession in pine rocklands - Larry and Penny Thompson Park

Wk 11 - 30 October - Floral characteristics and Pollination Syndromes

Wk 12 6 November  Pollinator behavior and plant preferences

Saturday 10 November - Lecture/lab field trip to Shark Valley - 9 am - 1 pm -

Wk 13 - 13 November  Seed dispersal - FIU preserve and campus locations

Wk 14 20 November   Thanksgiving week - final measurements for drought tolerance experiment; also harvest final group for RGR experiment.

Wk 15 - 27 November - last lab day - final presentations -  submit last of lab reports