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Biology and Identification of Ferns
June 19 - June 23
Instructor: Dr. Joey Shaw (UT-Chattanooga)
Students will obtain a comprehensive understanding of the seedless vascular plants, or cryptogams, or pteridophytes, including ferns and fern allies like lycopodium, and obscure taxa like the Appalachian gametophyte. Within the framework of classification, taxonomy, and evolution, we will dive deeply into studies of life cycles, morphology, basic anatomy, ecology, taxonomy, and nomenclature. We will take daily field trips within the Southern Appalachians and within a couple hours drive to collect specimens, bring them back to the laboratory, and identify them to species. The majority of our time will be spent either collecting in the field or keying species in the laboratory; that is, we will use the exercise of keying species to learn the important characters for identifying Southern Appalachian pteridophytes. Students will be encouraged to assemble reference collections and the last hours of the course will be spent assembling these collections. We will use various sources for species identification, but the Guide to Tennessee Vascular Plants of Tennessee will be the main key for species identification.
Pre-requisites: This course is designed for professional biologists, naturalists, and undergraduate/graduate students that who have an interest in ferns, plant taxonomy, or field botany and who have some experience with dichotomous keys. No previous experience with ferns is required, but if you have experience I can probably take you further in your knowledge. That is, I have often taught this class and others to a diverse crowd of student’s wide spectrum of knowledge bases. Depending on the different field trips, participants should be prepared to put in at least a couple of 12-hour days.
For more information, visit https://highlandsbiological.org/summer-2023-academic-courses/