Course Summary

Biol201 - Diversity of Life I. This course provides a survey of bacteria, algae, fungi and plants, their internal organization and their relationships to their environment. Organismal biology is discussed in a phylogenetic context and the evolution of organizational complexity and the relations between structure and function are stressed.


This fall semester Dr. Paul Grogan will teach the first half of course, and Dr. Lonnie Aarssen the second half. The lab instructor is Dr. Tim Birt (whose office is Room 4433 Biosciences Complex).

Course Materials

The required textbook is Raven, Evert and Eichhorn: Biology of Plants, 8th Edition, Freeman and Company Publishers. The current Lab Manual is also required.

Below is an outline of lecture and lab topics (see course syllabus for a more detailed description of the content of each lecture). Class topics or order may change, and classes may have to be cancelled. For the most up-to-date information you need to log on to Moodle.

Week 1:

  • Introduction to the diversity of life
  • Systematics and viruses
  • Video and discussion
  • No labs
Week 2:
  • Prokaryotes: Bacteria (I)
  • Prokaryotes: Bacteria (II) and Archaea
  • Eukaryotes: structure and origin
  • Lab 1: Plant diversity on campus

Week 3:

  • Eukaryote reproduction, and introduction to protists
  • Algae (dinoflagellates and euglenoids)
  • Algae (diatoms and brown seaweeds)
  • Lab 2: Prokaryotes
Week 4:
  • Algae (Reds and Greens)
  • Introduction to fungi
  • Lab 3: Algae
Week 5:
  • Fungi (Ascos and Basidios)
  • Fungal symbioses
  • Lab 4: Fungi
Week 6:
  • Midterm
  • No class
  • No labs
Week 7:
  • Origin, evolution and classification of land plants
  • Film
  • Bryophytes
  • Lab practical I
Week 8:
  • Vascular plants: origin, evolution and structure
  • Film
  • Seedless vascular plants I
  • Lab 5: Library workshop
Week 9:
  • Seedless vascular plants II
  • Film
  • Evolution of seed plants
  • Lab 6: Seedless non-vascular and vascular plants
Week 10:
  • Gymnosperms
  • Film
  • Angiosperms: origins and evolution
  • Lab 7: Vascular seed plants: gymnosperms
Week 11:
  • Angiosperms: reproduction
  • Film
  • Sizes, numbers and trade-offs in higher plants
  • Lab 8: Vascular seed plants: Angiosperms
Week 12:
  • Sizes, numbers and trade-offs in higher plants continued
  • Film
  • Overview: evolutionary trends
  • Lab practical II

Student Evaluation

Student assessment consists of

  • Lecture midterm exam (20%)
  • Final lecture exam (30%)
  • Weekly lab quizzes (10%)
  • Two lab practicals (25%)
  • Term paper (15%)

Current students

If you are currently taking Biol 201, you will find up-to-date and important information on the course website. To access that site, you need to log on to Moodle.