Systematic Botany – BIOL331 – Delivered asynchronously again this semester

Ickert-Bond Lab: systematics meets ecology, paleontology, and genomics

Systematic Botany – BIOL331 – Delivered asynchronously again this semester

Sunrise near Denali NP

Due to COVID restriction BIOL331 Systematic Botany will be offered as an online option again this year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Are you interested in learning about the Flora of Alaska as well as getting familiar with some unique approaches to delivering a systematic botany course online, this might be the one for you.  One of the hallmarks of systematic botany courses is the hands-on learning experience in a laboratory setting. To create a similar lab experience or the online offering, we have carefully chosen technology that will allow students from all over the state (and even outside Alaska) to collect data in their home communities, perform plant dissections and have a hands-on learning experience within the flora’s native environment. Instead of traditional course materials like textbooks, students will purchase an inexpensive wide-angle macro lens that connects to their smartphone or tablet. This 2-inch lens lets students take high-resolution, detailed photos of flora on the go with classifying metadata, such as GPS location attached. The technology not only lets students mimic lab spaces in their own natural areas but also expands their digital networks through the submission of images to iNaturalist, enabling them to share and collaborate with enthusiasts around the world and contribute citizen science data to research. Students don’t just sit at their computers in this class, they go outside, touch with their hands and share what they discover.

University of Alaska Fairbanks (USA)

Dr. Steffi Ickert-Bond (Professor of Botany and Curator of the
Herbarium (ALA) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Course description

Classification of flowering plants with emphasis on Alaskan flora; familiarity with taxonomy (identification, nomenclature, classification), evolution (speciation, reproductive biology, adaptation, convergence, biogeography) and phylogenetics (morphology and molecules). Lab emphasizes learning representative families and genera of Alaskan flora using keys and manuals.

Student learning outcomes:

A student who successfully completes BIOL F331 should gain the ability to:
1. Discover and classify plant diversity found in Alaska and beyond.
2. Describe and explain the major features and the evolutionary origin of vascular plants.
3. Interpret and evaluate the analytical and experimental tools to understand organismal diversity of plants.
4. Use and apply the vocabulary of plant description.
5. Contribute to biodiversity documentation through the iNaturalist citizen science platform.
6. Identify plants using dichotomous keys.
7. Recognize the major selected gymnosperm, and angiosperm families in Alaska.

The 3-credit class will run from 10 Jan.- 25 April and is fully asynchronous.

You can register at and select

202201 BIOL F331 1 35245 – Systematic Botany.

The class charges are $289/cr.  eCampus courses charge in-state tuition no matter where you reside.


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