Diversity and Evolution of Plants


Dr. Christian Printzen, christian.printzen@senckenberg.de Tel +49 69 97075 1154
Dr. Stefan Dressler,
stefan.dressler@senckenberg.de, Tel +49 69 97075 1135

Module information

Plant diversity is the basis of life on our planet. The vascular plants, especially the angiosperms, are important for us humans as suppliers of food and renewable raw materials. The diversity of angiosperms currently comprises around 250.000 known species. It is estimated that another 50.000 species are still to be discovered. However, many thousands of species are threatened with extinction today.

The module deals with the following topics: i) Present-day diversity of angiosperms, their morphology, classification and geographical distribution; ii) Evolution of angiosperms and the role of environmental factors as well as interactions with animals; iii) Origin of present-day distribution patterns and possibilities to understand geographic distributions (the group of lichens is also considered in this topic). Furthermore, applied aspects of diversity research (species/nature conservation, diversity/flora change) are covered. A broad spectrum of methods are taught, including "classical" morphological-anatomical studies and molecular sequence based methods (DNA sequencing, fragment analyses) for the reconstruction of phylogeny and trait evolution.

The module may include a one-week excursion, for example to the Alps.

The working group responsible for this module is closely linked to the Botany Department of the Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt and cares for one of the largest herbarium collections in Germany. Therefore, the importance and use of scientific herbarium and living collections are also addressed in the module.

Time slot of the module – second half of the summer semester

Number of participants - 12

Special features – If necessary, experiments of genetic safety level S1 can be carried out. As a rule, a one-week excursion is part of the module.

Homepage of the working group

Dr. Christian Printzen

Dr. Stefan Dressler