Plant Morphology: Linking Phenotype to Development
June 10 – 21, 2013
Course open to applications from undergrads, grad students,
and post docs from any institution. This is a non-credit course.
With the opportunity to bring molecular genetic and genomic tools to almost any clade of plants, a key challenge will be to link comparative developmental genetics to existing bodies of knowledge; notably the two hundred year legacy of comparative developmental morphology. This integration is critical as the phylogenetic, structural, and ecological breadth of plant taxa open to study expands, and the sophistication of potential questions increases in complexity. This course will provide vital analytical tools central to understanding the developmental bases for structural and functional diversity. Summer courses in organismic plant biology at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University bring world-class faculty and a world-class living collection together to enable students from around the world to know the phenotype.
In 2013, “Plant Morphology: Linking Phenotype to Development,” an intensive two-week laboratory and lecture course for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows will cover the fundamental principles of plant form, focusing on developmental dynamics, evolutionary diversification, and ecological and physiological function. Students will be presented with the conceptual and analytical tools necessary to interpret the vast array of morphologies that exist among plants. Professors Pamela Diggle (University of Colorado) and Peter Endress (University of Zurich) will serve as the instructors. This course is limited to 12 students.
Costs: Each student will receive a travel stipend of up to $500; meals and dormitory lodging will be provided for all participants.
Course format and schedule for weekdays:
9:00 – 10:15 Lecture I
10:15 – 10:30 Coffee break
10:30 – 11:45 Discussion of assigned primary literature
11:45 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:15 Lecture II
2:15 – 2:30 Coffee break
2:30 – 5:30 Laboratory
5:30 – 7:00 Dinner
7:00 – 8:00 Special evening guest lecture
Saturday and Sunday will involve tours of the living collections of the Arnold Arboretum and opportunities to explore the Boston area.
Week 1: Vegetative morphology including embryogenesis and establishment of the basic body plan, modes of germination and establishment, concepts of juvenile and adult phases, phyllotaxy, shoot longitudinal symmetry (including heteroblasty), axis thickening, shoot transectional symmetry, branching, structural and functional specialization of shoot branches, leaf development, leaf lateral and longitudinal symmetry, structural and functional specialization of leaves, root development, structural and functional specialization of roots, plant architecture, evo-devo.
Week 2: Reproductive morphology including inflorescence and flower structure, branching patterns and other features of inflorescences, flower organization and architecture, flower development, phyllotaxy and symmetry, organs of the perianth, androecium and gynoecium, synorganization of floral organs, angiosperm flower diversity, flowers of “basal” angiosperms, monocots, eudicots, the most complex flowers (orchids, asclepiads), structural solutions of functional constraints in reproductive biology, evolutionary trends in flowers.
Evening lecturers: Noel (Missy) Holbrook (Harvard University), Elena Kramer (Harvard University), Rachel Spicer (Harvard University), William (Ned) Friedman (Harvard University), Lorna Gibson (MIT), Cynthia Jones (University of Connecticut).
Download the application form [pdf].