BOT 205 Plants, Protists and Fungi
A survey of the major groups of organisms comprising plants, protists and fungi.
Plant science holds a special place at Connecticut College. Here, botany is its own department, distinct from biology. Major in botany and you have unparalleled study and research opportunities. Teaching and research are inextricably linked, and the department has an international reputation in coastal, marine and estuarine studies. We have an exceptionally strong program in freshwater botany, as well as courses in such diverse areas as terrestrial ecology, plant systematics, ethnobotany and plant cell biology. You focus on your areas of interest while developing a strong background in all aspects of plant biology.
Thanks to a low student-faculty ratio and ample funding, you are able to conduct research with a botany faculty member, often as early as your first or sophomore year. In recent years, students have worked on projects in many parts of New England and the continental U.S., as well as Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Venezuela and Peru. Faculty-student collaborations often lead to presentations at conferences and co-authorship of papers in top journals.
We offer top-flight transmission and scanning electron microscopes as well as light microscopes. You get hands-on experience in our extensive greenhouses and learn plant identification and classification in our Graves Herbarium, a renowned resource for scholars. Another unusual resource for a small college is our 750-acre Arboretum, a living laboratory with hundreds of species of native trees and shrubs and a large variety of wetland and upland habitats.
As Arboretum Director, Glenn Dreyer oversees all department functions, including education, planning, land management, collection curation, research and fund raising. He is also an adjunct professor of botany and was an executive director of the College's Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment. His professional and research interests have to do with the interface between horticulture and ecology.
Kristine Hardeman teaches cells labs, genetics labs and preparation. She also teaches a seminar on genetically modified crops.
Pamela Hine is a senior lecturer in botany.
Chad Jones is interested in a wide range of topics in plant ecology. His research has involved two major themes: plant succession and invasive species.
Manuel Lizarralde, a professor with a dual appointment in anthropology and botany, grapples with questions of people and the environment on a daily basis in his teaching and research. A native of Venezuela, Lizarralde has focused much of his work on the relation of indigenous Latin Americans to the environment, including the types of areas they inhabit and their use of plants. He studies ethnobotany (how people use plants) because the indigenous knowledge of local plants is very rich, and all of these cultures are rapidly changing and the information is being lost.
Noted for his mastery of a tremendous range of material, including the most current literature in both plant and animal cell biology and instrumental technology, Page Owen encourages proficiency in both scientific writing and laboratory research skills.
A noted expert in limnology, the study of lakes, Peter Siver teaches classes in introductory biology, introductory botany, environmental studies, phycology, limnology and geographic information systems. Siver's research helps to disprove the hypothesis that acid rain always causes lakes to become more acidic. Focusing mainly on Connecticut lakes, Siver demonstrates that Southern New England lakes have not become more acidic as a result of acid deposition.
Rachel Spicer is interested in how woody plants adapt, evolve and survive in different environments. Research in her lab is focused on the biology of trees, shrubs and lianas – anything with a large woody stem – and includes projects on how woody stems develop, age and transport water to the leaves.
Sardha Suriyapperuma serves as a lecturer and a lab instructor for both the botany and biology departments. She has conducted research in various disciplines including physiology of mycorrhizal fungi, DNA fingerprinting of turf grass, gene expression of cytoskeleton proteins, linkage mapping of adult-onset primary open angle glaucoma and gene expression using microarrays.
Botany major, chemistry minor
A: I have always been really interested in plant biology and I knew coming in that I wanted to be a Botany major. The Botany Department is a huge reason why I decided to come to Connecticut College. It is unique for a small school like Connecticut College to offer a Botany major so I really felt like coming here was the best of both worlds. I also knew I wanted to do research and was excited at the prospect of getting involved in a lab early on.
A: I started working in Professor Rachel Spicer’s lab in the second semester of my freshman year and I can truly say it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Professor Spicer’s research centers on the plant hormone auxin and its role in vascular development and connectivity. My current project is looking at alternative sites for auxin biosynthesis and trying to determine how these sites might contribute to the auxin content of the whole plant.
A: I am planning on applying to graduate schools early next year with the goal of beginning in the fall of 2015. I am particularly interested in plant biochemistry and am hoping to join a lab doing research in that area.