Botany is a vital part of a general biology curriculum. Plants and other photosynthetic organisms such as algae, cyanobacteria and photosynthetic bacteria are fundamental parts of ecosystems, often forming the base of the energy pyramid for the system. These organisms are the primary focus of the main botanical disciplines. Fungi, which are non-photosynthetic, parasitic or saprotrophic organisms, have been traditionally included in the overarching umbrella of botany.
Why study botany?
Many students who express interest in biology limit the scope of their interests to animal sciences, microbiology, or health-related disciplines. By limiting their training, these students miss out on connections and possibilities that a broader study of life may offer.
Historically, the early botanists were also physicians who needed to know as much as possible about plants and their medicinal (or poisonous) properties. In a similar manner, modern pharmacologists study plants in an effort to find new treatments and possible cures for diseases that continue to plague humanity. Crop scientists study plants to improve the quality of crops and seek new crop plants that may improve the ability of modern agriculture to provide food for the growing world population.
Anyone interested in ecology must not overlook the connections that exist among all parts of an ecosystem. Traditional views that led to the compartmentalization of ecology into animal and plant ecology restrict the overall understanding and appreciation of the complexity of ecosystems. A broader holistic view of biotic interactions will of necessity require training in all aspects of biology, including zoology, botany, and microbiology.
Opportunities for botanical study at UTM
At UTM, botany is a thriving field of study. Interested students may specialize in botany as the centerpiece of their degrees in biological sciences. Course offerings in the department that are specifically related to botany include: (follow links to reach selected course materials)
Foundations of Botany
Botany 302: Plant Morphology
Botany XXX: Plant Taxonomy
Botany YYY: Plant Ecology
Botany ZZZ: Plant Ecology Laboratory
Botany AAA: Plant Function and Development
Biology BBB: Undergraduate Research
Biology CCC: Special Topics