Plant Biology

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The general objective of the course is the study of the enormous diversity in the plant world in particular among bryophytes, pteridophytes and spermatophytes. Students should understand the importance of plants at various levels being able to recognize the similarities and variability in major taxonomic groups. These are studied with regard to their general characteristics as well as the study of some more representative taxa.

Three general learning outcomes, cross the various contents are established: a) identify and describe the morphological, ecological and reproductive diversity of major taxonomic groups of plants; b) discover and describe evolutionary processes and taxonomic classification adopted for plants; c) recognize the importance of bryophytes and vascular plants on ecosystem functioning, as well as its economic potential.

Students shall also develop skills in literature search, synthesis and oral and written exposition.


1. Bryophytes and Pteridophytes

General characterization. Reproduction and life cycle

Study of gametophyte and sporophyte

Diversity. Mosses, liverworts and hornworts. Rhynia type Pteridophytes, Psilophytes, Licophytes, Calamophytes and Filicophytes

Ecology and economic importance

2 . Spermatophytes


General characterization. Reproduction and life cycle

Diversity. Early Gymnosperms (pre-fanerogamic); evolved and highly evolved gymnosperms


General characterization

Meaning and importance of the ovary, fruit and seed. Double fertilization. Lifecycle

Morphological and biological diversity. Types of live and development

Mechanisms of dispersal of fruits and seeds

Monocotiyledons and eudicotyledons. Major families with economic interest

Practical Classes:

Structural and functional diversity. Major adaptations of the root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit and seed. Description and identification of specimens of the flora of the Azores based on available Floras

Teaching Methodologies

The lectures seek to encourage understanding and integration of knowledge and long-term memory. Student participation is encouraged: i) in order to achieve the perspectivation of the syllabus, facilitating the integration of knowledge; ii) posing questions to students; asking them to formulate questions and discussing possible answers. Practical classes seek to develop the ability to identify, interpret and describe forms of structural and reproductive adaptation of various plant organs to the most diversified habitats. Equal emphasis is placed on the description and identification of specimens of the flora of the Azores.


BELL, P.R. & HEMSLEY, A. R., 2000. Green Plants: Their Origin and Diversity. Cambridge Univ Press.

GALKO, F. D., 2003. Flowering Plant. Heinemann Publishers.

GIBSON, J. P. & GIBSON, T. R., 2007. Plant Diversity. Chelsea House Publishers.

INGROUILLE, M. J. & EDDIE, B., 2006. Plants. Diversity and Evolution. Cambridge Univ Press

OLIVEIRA, J. N. B., 2014. Introdução ao Estudo dos Briófitos. Edição do Autor, P Delgada.

OLIVEIRA, J. N. B., 2002. Noções Sumárias sobre Morfologia, Biologia e Sistemática dos Pteridófitos. Rel. e Comunicações Dep. Biologia Univ. Açores, P Delgada.

OLIVEIRA, J. N. B., 1991. Aspectos Pouco Comuns da Morfologia das Plantas Superiores. Universidade dos Açores, P Delgada.

PELT, J-M, 2000. A Mais Bela História das Plantas. Edições Asa.

RAVEN, P. H., EVERT, R. F. & EICHHORN, S. E., 2007. Biologia Vegetal. Editora Guanabara

STRASBURGER, E., FITTING,J., SIERP, A., HARDE, R. & FIRBAS, F., 2004. Tratado de Botânica. Editorial Marin, Barcelona.



ECTS Credits



  • Práticas e Laboratórios - 30 hours
  • Teóricas - 30 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 15 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • Practical component: 25%
  • Theoretical component: 75%