Plants of Tropical Asia – XTBG Field Botany Course 2012
Title: XTBG Field Botany Course 2012
Registration: Open. Application results will be announced in early March 2012.
Venue: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (near Jinghong), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan, China
Dates: 28 March – 14 April 2012 (19 days)
Organiser: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Laboratory for Plant Geography, XTBG.
Fees: Developing countries RMB 5000*, Developed countries RMB 8000*, XTBG members RMB 2500 (*includes accommodation and food)
Fellowships: NOW CLOSED
This course is being held in association with the ATBC Asia-Pacific chapter meeting (24-27 March 2012) at XTBG.
Why take a course on the flora of Southeast Asia?
Southeast Asia is one of the hottest hotspots of global biodiversity. There are over 40,000 vascular plant species, with a species density ten times that of the European flora, and the region is home to many well known and economically important plant taxa, such as rice, rattan, bananas, rambutan, nutmeg, meranti and yam. Being able to recognize plants is an essential skill for many aspects of ecology and conservation biology, but is problematic when the species diversity is so high, only a few plants are flowering at any one time, and regional floras are incomplete.
This course will arm students with an ability to identify plants in the field, thereby enhancing the quality of observations they may make in the course of their research. It is a course for non-plant taxonomy majors. Everyday we will collect plant material from the field and learn the field characters for identifying them. As we are collecting plants directly in the field, we will be dealing mainly with sterile material and sterile characters. This is deliberate since this is how plants are most often encountered. In the afternoons, we will review the day’s collecting, look at herbarium material, and arrange our observations within a systematic framework. In addition, we will have a series of lectures relating to the field study of plants, on topics ranging from DNA-barcoding to plant ecophysiology. The course also benefits from its location: XTBG has a phylogenetically diverse ex-situ collection of over 12000 plant species, including many thematic collections, a herbarium with over 100000 specimens focused on tropical China and Indo-China, and research laboratories studying plant genomics, plant resources, plant geography, plant-animal co-evolution, ecology and conservation.
This course is targeted at senior undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in the botanical wealth of Southeast Asia. Participants will learn how to make good quality plant collections, how to describe field characters, and how to recognize the important plant families and genera. By the end of the course, participants will have learned to identify over 90% of the individuals in a forest to Family or Genus level.
No prior knowledge of botany or biology is assumed, and at the beginning of the course all the necessary botanical terms will be explained. The course is also, therefore, appropriate for anthropologists, environmental scientists, or conservation practitioners, as well as biologists, who wish to improve their ability to recognize plants.
For further details, please refer to the Modules page.