96684 - Plant Biodiversity and Landscape Ecology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Sciences and Technologies for Green and Landscape (cod. 5830)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student knows how to correctly use scientific nomenclature with regard to wild species, cultivars, selections and hybrids. They know the basics of the main groups of autotrophic living beings, as well as some notions of the biology of bacteria and fungi and the role they play in the ecosystem and in the relationships with plants. The student knows the gamic reproduction and vegetative propagation modes of Angiosperms. Furthermore, the student is familiar with the main approaches to the study of plant diversity, from floristic to community analysis. He also has notions of phytogeography and plant ecology and is able to identify the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services. He is familiar with the tools for identifying plant species and has acquired practice in the determination of tree/shrub species. Finally, he/she knows the main regulations for the protection of biodiversity and landscape, also in the perspective of possible applications to spatial planning.

Course contents

Introduction to Plant Diversity

  • Plant diversity
  • What is a plant
  • What is an individual
  • What is a species
  • Overview of plant evolution

Taxonomy and classification

  • Classification & taxonomic ranks
  • Cladistics & phylogenetics
  • Morphological characters useful for distinguishing species

Classification of plant organisms and fungi Biodiversity of terrestrial plants and main taxonomic groups

  • Archaea
  • Fungi
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Algae
  • Bryophytes
  • Pteridophytes

Spermatophytes (Angiosperms + Gymnosperms)Identification of plant species and creation of a herbarium

General patterns of plant biodiversity

  • Latitudinal and altitudinal gradient
  • Alpha\beta\gamma diversity
  • Diversity hotspots
  • Patterns of local diversity

Patterns of species distribution

  • floristic kingdoms
  • ranges,
  • chorotypes of the Italian flora,
  • alien species

Functional characteristics of species

  • biological forms
  • Plant communities
  • classification, dynamics

The protection of biodiversity

  • The Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
  • SPAs, SCIs and the Natura 2000 European Ecological Network
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Rationale for the protection of biodiversity

The relationship between plants and the environment/climate

  • The urban heat island effect
  • Climate change and the agroforestry ecosystem
  • Environmental results of a European project-LIFE_CLIVUT (LIFE18 GIC/IT/001217)


The lecturer will provide pdfs of scientific articles on each of the topics covered in the lecture, as well as pdfs of each lecture once the topic has been completed.

The reference text for the course is as follows:

MAUSETH J.D. 2019. Botany. Fundamentals of plant biology. 4th Italian edition. IDELSON-GNOCCHI

Additional material can be found in:

PASQUA G., ABBATE G., FORNI C., 2015 - General Botany and Plant Diversity. 3rd edition, Piccin, Padua.

Not all the content of the recommended texts is actually to be considered for the preparation of the examination. The student must therefore select from the topics covered in the text those that are to be studied for the preparation of the examination, referring to what is indicated in detail in the syllabus.

The texts are available for consultation at the library of Palazzo Vespignani, in Imola.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars. Expert seminars. Student seminars. Workshops and practical and demonstration experiences. Excursions.

In view of the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, attendance of this training activity requires all students to complete modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode [https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio] and to participate in module 3 of specific training on health and safety in the workplace. Information on the dates and procedures for attending module 3 can be found in the appropriate section of the course website.

Assessment methods

Oral examination with discussion of the herbarium.
The preparation of a herbarium of 50 species (with priority for woody species) is a prerequisite for admission to the examination

Teaching tools

Power point presentation, laboratory and experimental fields

For lectures : ppt presentations prepared by the lecturer

For the exercises: fresh plant and herbarium material; outdoor teaching excursions.

Iconographic material of the Dryades project of the University of Trieste (www.dryades.units.it)

Iconographic material from the Acta Plantarum project (www.actaplantarum.org)

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Maria Sabatini


Sustainable cities Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.