Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Lucia Conte

  • Learning modules Lucia Conte (Modulo 1)
    Marta Galloni (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 6

  • SSD BIO/02

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Biodiversity and Evolution (cod. 5824)


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

Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student acquires experience in qualitative and quantitative monitoring of biological diversity. Particularly, the student is able to organize assessment protocols for the evaluation of principal parameters describing structure and dynamics of populations, in order to interpret ecological, chorological and historical contexts. The student possesses also advanced knowledge of the techniques of laboratory related to the extraction and amplification of nuclear, mitochondrial and plastidial DNA. Particularly, the student is able to conduct systematic and phylogenetic studies in plants using a molecular approach.

Course contents

Evolution of Land plants (Embryophytes). Macroevolution and microevolution. The 3 plant genomes. Neutral markers and analysis of genetic variation. Pollen/seed-mediated gene flow. Plastid DNA and phylogeographic patterns. PCR of non-coding cpDNA regions. Separation of amplified sequences by electrophoresis. Sequences alignment and data processing through multivariate and Bayesian analyses.

Biodiversity monitoring and estimation: field surveys and samples collection, data analysis. Identification of biological samples with the aid of analytical keys.

Educational travel in areas that represent biodiversity hotspots.


On-line distribution of didactic material.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons.

Practical indoor wet-lab activity.

Practical training in field-work (data collection). Tutorial.

In consideration of the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of this training activity requires the performance of all students of modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode and participation in module 3 of specific training on safety and health in the places of study. Information on dates and methods of attendance of module 3 can be consulted in the specific section of the degree program website.

Assessment methods

The end-of-course exam aims to assess the achievement of learning objectives, referred to the following topics: conventional definitions of Biodiversity; main approaches to the analysis of biodiversity; factors contributing to the intraspecific diversity; monitoring techniques of plant diversity in the field; biodiversity indexes and informatic tools commonly used in the elaboration of the data collected in the field. Macroevolution and main apomorphies of Plants. Characteristics of the three genomes of the plant cell; differences between functional DNA and extragenic DNA; use of neutral molecular markers in the analysis of microevolutionary phenomena; techniques of molecular systematics based on extraction and amplification of DNA; visualization and analysis of PCR products; processing of molecular data using the most common statistical methods of multivariate and bayesian analyses. Knowledge of habitats that represent hotspots of biodiversity. The examination, evaluated in thirtieths, consists of a written test in three questions concerning the activity on the field, the experience in the laboratory and the journey of education, followed by a discussion on the arguments developed in the task.

Teaching tools

Power-Point presentations

Field and lab equipments

Office hours

See the website of Lucia Conte

See the website of Marta Galloni