D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Agraria
A.A. A.A. 2016-2017
Credits 12
Hours 108
Period Corso annuale
Language ENG
U-gov code STA 3A475


Basic knowledge of general biology and chemistry.

Development of the course

The didactic method is based on ppt lectures (8 ECTS) and laboratory experiences (involving all students individually) and guided excursions in natural environments and/or research structures for direct observations or deepening on topics dealt with the course (4 ECTS). The ppt files of lectures are available and downloadable on the Moodle platform. Within this platform, in addition to teaching materials structured by main topics (introduction, cell biology, histology, anatomy, physiology, evolution and systematics, bryophytes, vascular cryptogams, spermatophytes), the pdf file of the three volumes of Flora d’Italia (S. Pignatti) are available and downloadable which are useful to practice the classification of plants.


Learning outcomes

Knowledge. The course enables students to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge on the main macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of plant organisms as well as on the most important physiological functions of plants, on the evolution of land plants and the methods of classification of living organisms.

Applying knowledge and understanding.

The main aim of this course is to provide a fully development ability of the students in correlate microscopic and macroscopic shape in order to reach a comprehensive understanding of the system plant-environment. In addition, through the study of evolution of land plants and the classification methods, the student must acquire the necessary skills for the recognition of the plants belonging to the main families of agronomic interest.

Cross-expertise. The student acquires the basic skills on the morphology and physiology of plants, on methods of reproduction (life cycles etc.) that will enable him to approach more specialized topics of agronomic character. The skills acquired in the classification and recognition of plants are also very useful in the exercise of the profession of agronomist.


1. Introduction to plant biology: history of botany, interest fields and methodologies. Plants in the biosphere. Concepts of environment and ecosystem, biotope and biocoenosis. The autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms. Prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Thallophytes and cormophytes (0.2 ECTS).

2. Cell Biology. Introduction to cell biology. The cell theory. The general structure of cell. Prokaryote and eukaryote cells. Main differences between plant cell and animal cell. Methods for the cell study. The eukaryote cell: structure, ultrastructure and functions. The plasma membrane. Cytoplasm and cell organelles. Plastids: Chloroplasts, Leucoplasts and Chromoplasts. Mitochondrion. The endomembrane system. Endoplasmic Reticulum. Golgi Apparatus. Vacuole and cell sap. Oxalate crystals. Lysosomes. The nucleus. Cytoskeleton. The cell wall: middle lamella, primary wall, secondary wall. Secondary modifications of the cell wall. The cell cycle. Mitosis and cytokinesis. Meiosis. Water and solutes absorption: diffusion, active and facilitated transport, osmosis, cell turgor and plasmolysis. Cell elongation (2.5 ECTS).

3. Plant Histology. Cell differentiation theories. Cell aggregate and pseudotissues. General characteristics of the tissues. Primary and secondary meristematic tissues. Primary and secondary mature tissues: dermal tissues, ground tissues (parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma), vascular tissues, glandular tissues. The external forms and plant life cycles. Embryogenesis (1.3 ECTS).

4. Plant anatomy. General plant anatomy of the three principal organs. Steam anatomy: meristematic, elongation and differentiation zones, primary and secondary structure zones. Cambium activity. Homoxylous and heteroxylous wood. The bark. The phellogen activity. Modifications and adaptations of the stem. Root anatomy: vegetative apex, root hair region, primary and secondary structure zones. Lateral roots. Modifications and adaptations of the root. Leaf anatomy: Monocotyledonous, Dicotyledonous and Coniferous. Leaf morphology and structure. Phyllotaxis and connections of the steam conducting system with the leaf's one. Modifications and adaptations of the leaf (2.6 ECTS).

5. Outlines of plant physiology: water balance. The cuticle and stomatal transpiration. Apoplast and symplast. Movement of Water and Inorganic Nutrients through the Plant Body. Assimilate Transport. Organic solution carriage. Plant adaptation to soil aridity. The seed: general characteristics, origin and structure. Maturation and germination (0.9 ECTS).

6. Evolution and Systematics. The origin of diversity of living organisms. The natural selection. The concept of population. The agents that modify the gene pool of a population. Evolutionary mechanisms that lead to adaptation. Processes that maintain or generate the genetic variability within a population. The biologic, morphologic and phylogenetic concept of species. Speciation. Modalities of speciation. Allopatric and sympatric speciation. Micro and macroevolution. Systematics and Taxonomy. Nomenclature and classification of living organisms. Phylogenesis and Cladistics. The origin of land plants (0.9 ECTS).

7. Tracheophyta. The transition from water to land. Phylogenies of land plants. The green Algae and Bryophytes. Morphology and evolution of the gametophyte and sporophyte. Life cycles. Reproduction. Ecology of bryophytes. Phylogenesis of bryophytes. Systematic classification: phylum Hepatohyta, phylum Briophyta, Phylum Anthocerotophyta. The seedless Vascular Plants. Phylogenesis of seedless vascular plants. Systematic classification: phylum Rhyniophyta, Zosterophyllophyta, Trimerophytophyta, Lycopodiophyta, Monilophyta (0.6 ECTS).

8. Spermatophyta. General description. The ovule evolution. From ovule to seed. Systematics and evolution. Gymnosperms. Origin of gymnosperms. Morphology and evolution of gametophyte and sporophyte. Life cycles. Sexual reproduction. Ecology of gymnosperms. Phylogenesis and systematics: phylum Coniferophyta, phylum Cycadophyta, phylum Gingkophyta, phylum Gnetophyta. Ecology, distribution and interests of the following families: Taxaceae, Pinaceae and Cupressaceae.

Angiosperms. General description. Origins of angiosperms. Morphology and evolution of gametophyte and sporophyte. The flower and the fruit. Life cycles. Sexual reproduction. Ecology of angiosperms. Phyologenesis of angiosperms. Classification, description, distribution and interests of the following families of major agronomic importance: Rosaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Apiaceae, Lamiaceae, Asteraceae, Liliaceae, Poaceae (3 ECTS).

Development of the examination

Learning evaluation methods

Final assessment is based on a multiple-choice test that consists of 60 questions. The student can choice to divide the examination into two parts (each of 30 questions) to be held at the conclusion of each semester. Furthermore, the preparation of a herbarium of at least 10 plants is optional (1 species for each family treated within the course and 3 specimens for one chosen family among them).


Learning evaluation criteria

To pass the test, the student must demonstrate knowledge of all the issues discussed in the course.


Learning measurement criteria

The final mark is attributed in thirtieths. Successful completion of the examination will lead to grades ranging from 18 to 30 “cum laude”.


Final mark allocation criteria

In the test, each correct answer is awarded 1 point. Wrong and/or invalid answers are worth 0 points. The examination is passed if it reaches the score of 18 equivalent to 36 correct answers out of 60 (or 18 correct answers out of 30 in each partial examination). The realization of the herbarium can be evaluated maximum 3 points to be added to the test vote.

Recommended reading

Evert R., Eichhorn S.– Biologia delle piante di Raven. Settima edizione italiana condotta sull’ottava edizione americana. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna. 2013.


Tutorial session

Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 1 pm

  • C.L.T. - Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie Curriculum TECNOLOGIE AGRARIE (STA - TA)
  • C.L.T. - Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie Curriculum VITICOLTURA ED ENOLOGIA (STA - VE)

Università Politecnica delle Marche
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