KPA375 FIELD BOTANY - OBJECTIVES, ACTIVITIES & ASSESSMENT
OBJECTIVESAt the completion of this unit, students should be able to:
OUTLINE OF ACTIVITIES
PART 1. PLANT COMMUNITIES OF MT FIELD & SOUTHWEST TASMANIA
An outline of the week's activities at Mt Field follows, although the weather will dictate to some extent what can be achieved, & in what order.Day 1: Altitudinal transect & associated changes in physiognomy & community types
PART 2. PLANT COMMUNITIES OF SOUTHEASTERN TASMANIA & CONSERVATION STRATEGIESDay 6: Long term ecological monitoring site at Warra
NOTES ON FINAL REPORTS
The assessment of student performance in this course
will be based on:
FIELD TEST (50%)
Each student will complete reports at THREE (3) nominated sites in the
field on the final day of the course (Day 8) to assess your ability to:
REPORTS (40%)Each student will present TWO (2) practical reports analyzing data collected in the field. These reports should be written as scientific papers, not as class exercises, and in the format suggested by the Scribble site:
http://www.utas.edu.au/scribble/Report%20Writing/RW_homepage.htm and/ or one of the second year report-writing templates.
These topics will be nominated for each student by the course co-ordinator and so it is important too collect data for all exercises.
All students will present a report on:
PLANT COLLECTION (10%)
In an effort to minimize the impact on the flora, & to reduce the
(considerable) expense incurred by students, plant collections may be
submitted as a group effort (max. no. per group is 5 students). Students
will be required to indicate the contribution of the other members of
the group (from 0 to 100%) in a confidential covering statement.
A GENERAL GUIDE TO THE COLLECTION AND PRESERVATION OF PLANTS
B. Choice of Specimens
Ideally, all stages in the plant life history should be represented for each species.
1. Ensure that the specimen has flowering or fruiting parts present. (Vegetative material alone may be exceedingly difficult to identify, and its value for comparative purposes is limited).
2. If the species is herbaceous, try to include the underground parts to show their character.
3. Select healthy specimens free from insect damage, fungal infestation, etc.
4. Choose specimens from typical plants, not from the occasional rare oddity.
C. Arrangement of Specimens for Pressing
1. Wherever possible, arrange one or more leaves with the lower side uppermost.
2. Ordinarily, a specimen should be restricted to the size of the pressing paper.
3. Herbaceous specimens longer than the pressing paper may be accommodated intact by folding .
4. Springy stems may be held in place by slipping slitted slips of paper over the bent parts.
5. All roots or underground parts should be washed free of soil before pressing.
D. Equipment required for Pressing Specimens
1. Plant Press
The efficiency of a plant press is determined largely by its ability to hold material under a constant and firm pressure, whilst at the same time, allowing the specimens to dry. Field presses are conventionally comprised of a pair of wood or metal frames which can be tightened as the situation demands. Where weight is not an important factor, the design of presses can be more versatile. Home presses may be constructed from a combination of wooden slabs (to provide a flat base) and bricks, books or sundry other weighty objects which can be used to maintain a firm even pressure.
2. Absorbent Paper
Absorbent paper is used to remove water as the plant dries. The type of paper may vary, but blotting paper is ideal. Paper hand towels are also satisfactory providing the high profile embossed towels are not used - the pattern may become imprinted on the leaf surfaces, petals, etc. Tissues are not
recommended because with succulent stems, leaves with glandular secretions or flowers with high quantities of nectar, they become stuck to the specimen and cannot be removed easily.
3. Pressing Paper
Pressing paper is used to surround the absorbent paper. Folded newspaper is fine for this purpose.
Dividers provide a firm base for each layer of pressing paper. Theoretically, they are not essential but, in practise, their absence may result in curved or misshapen specimens.
E. Pressing Specimens
Several sandwich layers arranged in the order, divider, pressing paper, absorbent paper, specimen(s), absorbent paper, pressing paper, divider, are stacked on top of each other, and a firm, even pressure is applied. Care must be taken that excessive pressure is not applied resulting in squashed specimens having a misleading appearance e.g. flat stems which should be round. The amount of pressure is variable depending on the hardness of the specimens involved.
F. Drying Specimens
Specimens should be arranged appropriately and allowed to press for 24 hours. The press should then be opened and the absorbent papers changed. Specimens are then allowed to dry from 10-14 days. For some species, particularly succulents or nectar producing plants, it may be necessary to change the absorbent paper several times.
G. Mounting Specimens
1. Specimens should be mounted on A4 paper and enclosed in clear plastic sheet protectors.
2. Glue or paste is recommended to fasten specimens to the mounting
3. A commercially available glue, "Aquadhere", may also be used but is not always satisfactory with species whose leaves are highly cutinized. Neither of the techniques, (a) and (b) above, is successful with this glue which quickly forms a tough surface on exposure to air. "Aquadhere" is probably best applied directly from the container or by playing small amounts on a thin lid and continually replacing it as it hardens. A match or small stick is suitable for applying the glue to the specimen. Care must be taken that all parts of the specimen in contact with the paper receive a supply of glue.
H. Labelling of Specimens
Every specimen should have its own label recording relevant data. Such data should include:-
Any additional data considered relevant may also be included e.g. plant size, colour of flowering and fruiting parts, etc.