Senior Lecturer & Head of Department
BS Ripley, MSc(Natal), PhD(Rhodes)
Professor CEJ Botha, PhD(Natal)
Associate Professor NP Barker, MSc(Wits), PhD(UCT)
Lecturer S Vetter, PhD(UCT)
Junior Lecturer CI Peter, MSc(Rhodes)
Research Associate Associate Professor Emeritus RA Lubke, BSc(Hons)(Rhodes), MIBiol, MSc (Science Education)(Keele), PhD(Western Ontario)
Botany (BOT) is a six-semester subject which may be taken as a major subject for the degrees of BSc and BJourn. Botany is a recommended co-major with Environmental Science (ENV), Entomology (ENT) or Zoology (ZOO) full details of which are given in a separate entry.
To major in Botany, a candidate is required to obtain credit in the following courses: CHE 1; BOT 101 (or, with approval, BIO 101 or ZOO 102); BOT 102; BOT 201; BOT 202; BIO 301; BOT 302. See Rule S.23.
Two, or in some cases four, Botany semester-credit courses are allowed as credits for other degree/diploma curricula in the Faculties of Humanities and Education.
Biology (BIO) is a two-semester first-year subject, offered jointly by the departments of Botany and Zoology and Entomology. This forms a compulsory part of a BPharm degree, and may also be taken for credit for degree/diploma curricula in the Faculties of Humanities, Science and Education.
See the Departmental Web Page http://www.ru.ac.za/academic/departments/botany/ for further details, particularly on the contents of courses.
There are two first-year courses in Botany. BOT 101 is normally held in the first semester and BOT 102 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course BOT 1, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum in each component. Both theory and practical examinations are held. Supplementary examinations may be recommended in either course, provided that a candidate achieves a minimum standard specified by the Department. Practical reports, essays and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark. Adequate performance in BOT 101 is required before a student may register for BOT 102.
Each course is comprised of modules of two to four weeks, with 5 lectures and 1 practical per week. Additional tutorial sessions may be given in some modules, and there is a compulsory field trip.
With the approval of the Head of Department of Botany, students who have passed BIO 101 (Plant Biology) or ZOO 102 (Cell and Developmental Biology) may be allowed entry to Botany 2, provided they have successfully completed BOT 102 (Plant Evolution and Ecology) in the same year.
BOT 101: Plants and the Environment
This course focuses on the interaction between plants and the environment and considers the challenges that individual plants face: accessing resources, reproducing and dealing with competition, fire, climate change and predation. Being rooted, plants cannot move to escape adverse conditions or to attract mates and have evolved a variety of fascinating adaptations in response to this limitation. This course explores a variety of plant adaptations and processes such as cell function, photosynthesis, respiration, metabolism and gene replication which make these adaptations possible. A field trip to a local game reserve explores how plants interact with the environment.
BOT 102: Plant Evolution and Ecology
This course examines the mechanisms of evolution and how different species arose in response to diverse environments. The resultant plant diversity is examined and its usefulness to humans considered. This is followed by an introduction to ecological concepts from the individual plant to the biosphere and the characteristics and processes found at each level of organisation. The course ends with an introduction to the biomes of South Africa, highlighting the great diversity in ecological processes that have shaped the vegetation in different parts of the country. A field trip to the coast provides an introduction to field ecology.
There are two first-year courses in Biology. BIO 101 is normally held in the first semester and BIO 102 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course BIO 1, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum in each component. Supplementary examinations may be recommended in either course, provided that a candidate achieves the minimum standards specified by the Departments of Botany (for BIO 101) and Zoology and Entomology (for BIO 102).
BIO 101: Plant Biology
Evolution of life, the eukaryote cell and diversity. Cellular control and inheritance. Function of sub-cellular organelles. Organisation of cells to form tissues, organs and the whole plant. Introduction to higher plant diversity and plant use.
BIO 102 / ZOO 101: Animal Biology
BIO 102 is the same course as ZOO 101; please consult the entry for ZOO 101 in the departmental entry for Zoology and Entomology.
There are two independent second-year courses in Botany. BOT 201 is normally held in the first semester and BOT 202 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately, and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course BOT 2, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum in each component. However, students who wish to major in Botany must obtain credit in each of BOT 201 and BOT 202. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course.
Credit in Botany (BOT 101 and BOT 102) is required before a student may register for BOT 201 or BOT 202; except that credit in ZOO 102 (Cell and Development Biology) or BIO 101 (Plant Biology) may be substituted for BOT 101 at the discretion of the Head of Department. For candidates not majoring in Botany, BOT 201 may be taken by second or third year science students. Credit in BOT 2 will only be granted when full credit in BOT 1 has been obtained.
These courses each comprise several modules and 12 practicals. Students registered for BOT 201 will also be required to assemble a plant collection, and students will participate in field trips in BOT 201 or BOT 202.
BOT 201: Biodiversity and Conservation
This course has the assessment, conservation and rehabilitation of botanical diversity as its central theme. A module on population and conservation biology lays the foundation for assessing biodiversity and the conservation status of species. Other modules deal with the biology, impacts and control of biological invasions, the impacts and management of plant utilisation, and the assessment and rehabilitation of disturbed landscapes. A course on plant collecting and identification is included as many of the practicals consist of field excursions.
BOT 202: Plant Function
This course starts with a module on research methods, which provides hands-on training in skills required for planning and conducting experiments and analysing data. This is followed by a module on plant development, which focuses on the relationship between form and function in the differentiation, growth and maturation of plant tissues. A module on plant - animal interactions such as pollination, seed dispersal and herbivory explores the role of animals in driving plant evolution and speciation. A module on carbon and nitrogen metabolism in plants examines pathways of energy production and utilisation, and the regulation of metabolism.
There are two independent third-year courses in Botany. BIO 301 is normally held in the first semester and BOT 302 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately. Students who wish to major in Botany must obtain credit in both BIO 301 and BOT 302, and no aggregation of credit is possible. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course. BIO 301 is an optional credit for students who wish to major in Environmental Science. Students who wish to major in Botany and Environmental Science should note that BIO 301 has to be used towards the major in Botany and that some other suitable third year course has then to be selected for the Environmental Science major.
Credit in Botany (BOT 201 or BOT 202) is required before a student may register for BOT 3. Credit in BOT 3 will only be granted when full credit in BOT 2 has been obtained.
These courses each comprise several modules and 12 practicals. Students are also required to undertake a mini research project.
BIO 301: Biodiversity
Bio 301 examines important aspects of biodiversity. The first module considers the science of modern systematics, including nomenclature, taxonomic data and analysis, especially phenetics and cladistics. A second module looks at terrestrial biogeography, exploring the relationship between present-day distribution patterns of biota, their past evolutionary history and the geological history of the earth. A final module on evolutionary biology examines evolutionary theory concentrating on the mechanisms that have driven the speciation of organisms to produce present day biodiversity.
BOT 302: Plant and Ecosystem Function
Botany 302 offers three advanced modules on plant function in relation to the environment. A module on evolutionary plant anatomy examines in detail some of the structures that make the transport systems of vascular plants efficient. An ecophysiology module examines the relationship between plant physiology and the environment where these plants grow, looking in particular at the physiological consequences of stress. The course explores plant response to extremes using the specific examples of light, water and temperature stress. An ecology module looks at population dynamics and demography, plant life histories, and mechanisms of competition and coexistence in plant communities.
The Honours degree course allows for specialisation in a chosen direction within Botany. It involves seminars, tutorials and research projects, and is intended to provide the student with the opportunity for in-depth study in particular aspects of the subject. These may be seen as a relevant training for subsequent employment or as a step between an undergraduate degree and a research degree. Modules include: ecology, pollination biology, environmental impact assessment, plant-insect feeding interactions, molecular ecology, advanced systematics, ecophysiology, climate change, advanced anatomy, disturbance and restoration ecology and coastal ecology.
Joint Honours courses may be followed where topics from the Botany Honours course may be taken in combination with courses in some other Departments (for example, Entomology, Environmental Science, Ichthyology or Zoology). The Botany Department also offers specialist courses that may be taken in conjunction with Environmental Science Honours. Full details of the curriculum may be found at the Web Page http://www.ru.ac.za/botany/
Suitably qualified students are encouraged to proceed to the research degrees of MSc and PhD under the direction of the staff of the Department or associated Institutes. Requirements for the MSc and PhD degrees are given in the General Rules.