Evolution of Green Plants

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Scanning electron micrograph of Equisetum sperm cells. Image by K. S. Renzaglia (http://www.science.siu.edu/landplants/Sphenophyta/sphenophyta.html).

Spring 2012

EEB 3220 (3 cr)

EEB 3220W (W, 4 cr)

EEB 5220 (graduate, 3 cr)

Some lectures note files are too large to be posted on this site. Instead you will see a link that takes you to the UCONN dropbox. You must be logged in the UCONN system to access these. The files will be on the server for 14 days. So download them ASAP.
Lectures: T/TH 12:30-13:45 in Torrey Life Sciences (TLS) 301

EEB3221 (lab) students: To lab home page.

Instructor Contact Information

Louise A. Lewis Associate Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
office: 200 Pharmacy/Biology Building
voice: +1 860-486-6723
email: louise.lewis@uconn.edu

Bernard Goffinet Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
office: 300 Pharmacy/Biology Building
voice: +1 860-486-5290
email: bernard.goffinet@uconn.edu

Where are our offices? BioPharmacy building, N end of building touching TLS, around the corner from elevator (Dr. Lewis is on the 2nd floor and Dr. Goffinet on the 3rd). If you come from TLS and go up the stairs, enter floor and take hallway on your left.


Pdficon small.gif Download EEB3220 course Syllabus (requires password) for info on grading and course policies.
Pdficon small.gif EEB3220W students: Download instructions (requires password) prior to our first W meeting

Textbook and readings

Textbook: Willis and McElwain (2002): The evolution of plants. Oxford University Press. Additional readings from the primary literature will be assigned to some lectures through links in the schedule below. This material (textbook and papers) is considered part of the lecture material and must be read for the midterm and final exams.


  • Assignment 3: you have to attend one of the following two seminars:

Sir Peter Crane (Yale): The future of plants. Required attendance: Feb. 23rd. Teale lecture in Dood Center at 4PM.
Ricardo Rozzi (UNT & U Mag): Field environmental philosophy to confront biocultural homogenization in a rapidly changing world. April 5th, BP 130, 4PM
You have to tell us NEXT WEEK which one you will attend. You will have to write up a summary of the talk and submit that the week following the talk. If you have a legitimate reason that prevents you from attending a lecture, we will assign you a different task.


Notes: downloads require password; best viewed in Adobe Reader.

Date Topic Reading / Assignment Prof.
T 1/17/12 Pdficon small.gif Introduction W&E Ch. 1 & first pages of Ch. 2,
Pdficon small.gif Assignment1lifecycle.doc
Th 1/19/12 Pdficon small.gif Before land plants and Introduction to Green algae
See here for more about secondary endosymbiosis
W&E remainder of Ch. 2 plus pp 67-74,
Pdficon small.gifAssignment 2
T 1/24/12 Pdficon small.gif Aquatic ancestors of embryophytes Assignment 1 Due (at start of class)
Tell us which seminar you will attend (assignment 3)
Th 1/26/12 Transition to land
Download the lecture notes here
Pdficon small.gif Tomescuetal2008.pdf Goffinet
T 1/31/12 Pdficon small.gif Succeeding on land: “earliest” embryophytes
You can also download the large pdf from here [1]
Pdficon small.gif Notes on bryophytes Goffinet
Th 2/2/12 Conquering land: early Polysporangiophytes
You can download the pdf from here [2] or get a downsized version Pdficon small.gif here
W&E Ch. 3: end of chapter Goffinet
T 2/7/12 Origin of vascular plants and biogeography of early land plants
You can download the notes here [3]
W&E remainder of Ch. 3: 51-67, 77-80
Assignment 2 Due (at start of class)
Th 2/9/12 Physiological desiccation tolerance; get notes here [4] Pdficon small.gif Oliveretal2005.pdf Lewis
T 2/14/12 The first forests (evolution of the stele and roots)
You can download the notes here [5]
W&E remainder of Ch. 4: 81-92 & 99-110 Goffinet
Th 2/16/12 The first forests (evolution of leaves and heterospory)
You can download the notes here [6]
W&E remainder of Ch. 4: 92-99 & 112-129 Goffinet
T 2/21/12 Descent with modification: evolution of lignin, stomata and seeds Goffinet
Th 2/23/12 Evolution of organellar genomes Pdficon small.gif Timmisetal2004.pdf
Assignment 3a: Teale Seminar: Sir Peter Crane, 4PM, Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center
T 2/28/12 Evolution of nuclear genomes Lewis
Th 3/1/12 The Developmental tool kit of land plants Assignment 3a due (at start of class) Goffinet
T 3/6/12 Midterm exam (through 2/28 lecture)
Th 3/8/12 Partners in the conquest of land Lewis
T 3/13/12 Spring Break
Th 3/15/12 Spring Break
T 3/20/12 Divergence dating, integration of fossils Lewis
Th 3/22/12 Recent diversifications in early land plants Lewis
T 3/27/12 Evolution and biogeography of early seed plants W&E Ch. 5 Goffinet
Th 3/29/12 Evolution of gymnosperms W&E Ch. 5 Goffinet
T 4/3/12 Mass extinction W&E Ch. 8 Goffinet
Th 4/5/12 Ancient DNA W&E Ch. 9
Assignment 3b: Seminar: Ricardo Rozzi (UNT & U Mag): Field environmental philosophy to confront biocultural homogenization in a rapidly changing world. April 5th, BP 130, 4PM
T 4/10/12 Origin of flower, fossils, etc. W&E Ch. 6 Lewis
Th 4/12/12 Origin of flower, fossils, etc. W&E Ch. 6
Assignment 3b due (at start of class)
T 4/17/12 Diversification of grasses, photosynthesis W&E Ch. 7 Lewis
Th 4/19/12 Diversification of grasses, photosynthesis W&E Ch. 7 Lewis
T 4/24/12 Phylogeny, dating, homology Lewis
Th 4/26/12 Phylogeny, dating, homology & Presentations by EEB 5220 Students


"Whitish smoke in the movie are small droplets containing smreps (deliberate misspelling of word for male gametes). The smreps in the droplets are still un-motile. When touch the water, they begin to swim. In our experiments, misting with water is trigger of the explosion. If antheridia were mature, the explosion begin within few minutes. The event continued about for 10 min. Intense light for video recording also seems to accelerate the phenomenon. Each antheridia is deeply sunk in a cavity of antheridiophore and there is a very small pore on the top of each cavity. Swollen cells of surrounding tissue might cause the pressure force. Cavers (1903) and Muggoch & Walton (1942) also discussed about the mechanism, but, I think no one examined about the detail mechanism of the phenomenon. In Hiroshima, the season of mreps dispersal is Spring (April to May). In our field observation, we detected many airborne smreps in the sunny day after rain shower. I do not have detail data about how many species of liverworts have airborne mreps. At least, Asian species of Conocephalum (C. japonicum) do in the same manner." M. Shimamura

Shimamura, M., Yamaguchi, T. & Deguchi, H. 2008. Airborne sperm of Conocephalum conicum (Conocephalaceae). J. Plant Res. 121: 69-71. http://www.springerlink.com/content/fl2105h6428366m3/