Daten und Details auf den Seiten der AG Lamparter

Dieser Kurs wird ab SS 2025 in veränderter Form angeboten.

Resilience - How Plants Moved On Land

Non-flowering land plants, their algal ancestors, and their fungal companions have been neglected over decades. Since they lack flowers and, thus, their sexuality remains, they were summarised as so-called "cryptogamic" life forms and often understood as exotic, and peripheral life forms, the archaic precursors of "real" plants. This viewpoint was ignorant - it is now progressively clear that these "cryptogamic" life forms have evolved numerous innovations to cope with the harsh conditions of terrestrial life, long before animals did. These innovations helped them to overcome numerous stresses, such as drought, heat, UV irradiation, high-light stress or lack of nutrients. These are exactly the challenges we are facing now in consequence of human-made climate change. When we learn to understand, how plants managed to move on land, we will be able to use those innovations for a more sustainable and resilient agriculture of the future. The last years have brought many new insights into early land plant evolution, mainly promoted by progress in phylogenomics. However, to interpret those data requires a thorough understanding of the diversity of non-flowering plants, on the peculiarities of their life cycle, and of their physiological adaptations. This is only possible, when one also considers their ancestors, the different types of algae. A deeper understanding also requires some understanding of the plant companions, the fungi that enabled plant terrestrialisation. The course consists of two sections:

  • A theoretical part gives a survey on the evolution of early land plants and the innovations in morphology, life cycle and physiology that enabled this evolution.
  • In the practical part, students will learn to distinguish different life forms of algae, mosses, lichens, ferns, and fungi and to cope with this biodiversity. This will be complemented by excursions in the region, work at the herbarium of the Natural History Museum, but also laboratory studies involving classic and modern methods of taxonomy.

More details will be published on this page from mid 2024.