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Unit information: Plant Evolution, Development and Diversity in 2018/19

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Unit name Plant Evolution, Development and Diversity
Unit code BIOL30007
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jill Harrison
Open unit status Not open

None, but we recommend that students should have taken BIOL11000 or BIOL12000



School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences



To describe the diversity and biology of plants in an evolutionary and phylogenetic context and to assess reasons for their extraordinary success.


Flowering plants are the most important and most speciose group of land plants. This module aims to provide framework to study how differences in form between species came about during evolution. Specific areas to be addressed will include:

1) Frameworks for studying plant evolution

2) Morphological changes during the evolution

3) Genetic mechanisms underpinning the evolution

4) Plant/animal interactions in the radiation of flowering plants

5) The evolution of crop plants and crop improvement

Intended learning outcomes

The students will gain an understanding of the diversity and biology of flowering plants. Some grounding will be given in plant phylogenetics and systematics. Students will be introduced to new studies which integrate evolutionary biology and developmental genetics – ‘evo-devo’ – specifically within the context of flower evolution. Students will also gain a detailed understanding of aspects of the reproductive development and reproductive biology of flowering plants. The adaptive evolution of flowering plants will be discussed in relation to their reproductive biology and their interrelationships with pollinators.

Teaching details

Lectures, interactive seminars/workshops and independent study.

Assessment Details

End of Session exam (100%).

Reading and References

Most of the lecture material for the specific subjects considered in this Unit is taken from research papers and is not covered in any one textbook. You will receive a recently-updated reading list at the start of teaching of this unit.