The laboratory component of General Botany provides you the opportunity to view interrelationships between and among structures, to handle live or preserved material, to become familiar with the many terms we use throughout the course, and to learn how to use a microscope properly. Each of you will have your own microscope every week, no exceptions. This laboratory is fundamental, yet integral to your understanding of General Botany. The images in your manual are intended to serve as a guide while you view permanent or prepared slides. These must be viewed by each of you independently. At no time will questions be answered re where is a particular structure, etc., unless the slide is on the stage of your microscope and in focus.
The content of the laboratory is rich, as is the terminology. You must come to lab prepared. You must come to lab knowing what the various terms you are about to deal with mean. There is no such thing as finishing early that simply isn’t possible.
In some laboratory exercises you will be asked to identify structures of an organism. For example, Examine slide 9 labeled Rhizopus sporangia w.m. and identify the mitosporangia, mitospores, columella, mitosporangiophore, and zygotes. In all likelihood you will only be able to see mitosporangia, mitospores, columella, and mitosporangiophores. If zygotes are absent in your slide you note that the population of hyphae you are examining are only reproducing asexually. These questions are written in this manner to further fortify your understanding of the organisms in question and not to trick you. Thinking about what you are viewing is not an option but a necessity!
The phylogeny we have adopted in this course is a composite. No single phylogeny best reflects our collective understanding of all the organisms included in this course so we have created one that reflects modern thought and is based on both morphological and molecular data. None is any more correct or incorrect than is any other, but this is the one that we will use, and the one we deem as most acceptable.
Rest assured, much still needs to be learned about the evolution of many of the groups we will study. Regardless, the course does provide you a general overview of the evolutionary biology of these various groups. This is your starting point, it is not the endpoint!