Spring 2021 - BISC 337 D100

Plant Biology (4)

Class Number: 2702

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Fr 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 17, 2021
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 101 and 102 with a grade of C- or better.



An introductory course covering many aspects of plant biology including the origin and evolution of plants, basic anatomy, plant growth and development and the utilization and impact of plants in human society.


This course is designed to introduce the world of plants by addressing three main themes:

1. EVOLUTION: We will explore the major plant groups from an evolutionary perspective, spanning from the first appearance of plants on the planet to the major plant groups present today. Emphasis will be placed on the origin and evolution of the flowering plants and the factors that allowed them to achieve world-wide dominance. (organisms: liverworts, mosses, ferns, conifers, grasses, other flowering plants, etc.)

2. FORM AND FUNCTION: We will also be covering the structure and function of plant bodies and the development and life histories of different plant groups. (topics: cell types and tissues, physical support, transport of water and nutrients, reproductive structures, physical and chemical defences, etc.)

3. PLANTS AND PEOPLE: Throughout the course what we learn about plants will be placed in a human context by discussing our relationship with plants; how we have used and depended on plants through history, in the modern age, and into the future. (topics: agriculture, medicine, forestry, cultural uses, etc.)

LABORATORY COMPONENT: The lab is designed to complement learning about the plant groups discussed in lecture. In the lab, students will get practical and hands-on experience with a wide range of plant species. They will be guided in learning to confidently use microscopes to observe specimens, and to interpret the results. We are planning for some labs to be held in-person on campus, and some completed online.


  • Class participation 10%
  • Assignment/Quizzes 35%
  • Midterm Exam 15%
  • Lab Final Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 20%


Mode of Teaching (tentative):
Lecture: synchronous
Laboratory: in-person, synchronous (some weeks are expected to have in-person labs on campus)
Midterm: synchronous, date: TBA
Final Exam: synchronous, date: TBA



A microphone and webcam are required for synchronous online instruction in lecture and lab.


A Photographic Atlas for the Botany Laboratory, 7ed, by Samuel R. Rushforth, Robert R. Robbins, John L. Crawley, Kent M. Van De Graaff


Raven Biology of Plants: Ray F Evert & Susan E Eichhorn 8th ed., W.H Freeman & Co.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).