Course Requirements

Everyone taking part in the seminar is expected to:

1) read the assigned material each week. The reading will consist of several research articles or book chapters. The reading assignment for each meeting will be provided the preceding week. We will primarily make use of e-journals and e-reserves. Occasionally the material will be from journals that are also available in the library stacks. If necessary, photocopies of the assigned reading will be available in the seminar room (Room B200A). The articles or chapters will often provide opposing opinions or evidence on the subject, and should always be read critically.

2) participate in the seminar discussion. I expect everyone in this class to participate in all discussions. The topics we will address should lend themselves to lively discussion. It will be important for our discussions to have all participants contributing their views on the reading. Everyone should come to seminar prepared to briefly summarize the assigned reading for the group.

Each week, one randomly chosen person may be asked to provide a brief (maximum of 5 minutes) description for each of the papers. I would also like our discussion to cover both positive and negative aspects of the papers.

3) assume the role of Discussion Leader in turn. Your primary responsibilities in this role will be to choose a topic for discussion, identify (in consutation with Keith) papers for the class to read, and facilitate discussion during the seminar meeting. This will require a thorough understanding of the reading you assign. You will also be expected to review additional literature on your subject so that you can help to place the assigned reading into a larger context. You are not expected to prepare (nor will you be allowed to present) a two-hour lecture on your topic.

On the day we discuss your reading, please bring a brief bibliography of related papers, along with any additional information (diagrams, pictures, maps, etc) from other sources that may help to put the reading in context. If you can provide an electronic copy of this document to me prior to class, I will print enough copies for everyone (and print in color if warranted)

4) complete 2 reviews of recent research papers investigating a question related to the general topics covered by our seminar. These are expected to be short reviews (a maximum of 3 pages, double-spaced). One of these papers can be on the topic for which you lead discussion (but not of one of the papers we all read for class discussion). The articles you review should be reporting new research (i.e. do not use review articles) and should be from the current periodicals reading room (i.e. unbound). If you use electronic journals, please focus on articles from the past 16 months.

One assignment must be completed before Fall Break, and the second must be completed by the Thanksgiving Break.

Appropriate journals to search include: American Journal of Botany, Molecular Ecology, Evolution, Plant Physiology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Oecologia, Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society, Phytologia, Canadian Journal of Botany, and American Naturalist.

5) complete a brief research proposal for one of the topics covered in class (this may be completed in pairs/triples depending on the number enrolled). You will revisit one of the papers we discussed for seminar this term, and identify a follow-up question for additional research. You will then write a 2 to 3 page description of a research project that will build upon the report we read. More details will be provided towards the end of the term.