PBIO 095: Plants on the Move

Summer 2016
Welcome to PBIO 095 Plants on the move!

The information below describes the course instructor, grading policies,
and reading list.
Professor Jane Molofsky
341 Jeffords Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday/Wednesday

Text: Simberloff, Daniel. 2013. Invasive Species: What everyone needs
to know. Oxford University Press. 352 pages.
We will also be reading a articles in the popular press and scientific
journal articles.
Course Summary:
The course covers topics in basic plant biology such as plant life
history and growth, taxonomy and ecology but will use plant invasions
as a tool to study basic plant biology. In addition, the topic of plant
invasions will allow for an exploration of the socio-economic costs of
invasive plants, the various agencies (local conservation groups, state
agencies, National and International policy groups) that are involved in
studying and trying to eradicate invasive plants. We cover several
topics in the course that directly relate to the theme of sustainability
including the role of current trade practices on the spread of invasive
plants, how climate change may make the world more weedy and the
role that human movement and immigration has had and will continue
to have on invasive plant species. We will also study several of the
worst invasive species in Vermont including Japanese knotweed, which
is listed as one of the 100 of the world’s worst weeds. The course will
include topics on how human behavior can both promote and stop the
spread of invasive species and also how cultural biases may affect
what species are considered invasive.
Class meeting format

Monday through Wednesday we will meet in class; Thursday’s will be
reserved for lab and field work on invasive plant species.
Specific Learning Objectives
A. The student will be able to explain verbally and in writing the
basic life cycle of a plant and how it relates to its invasiveness.
B. The students will understand the historical, economic and social
costs of plant invasions.
C. Students will be able to identify the common invasive plant
species in the Champlain Valley
D. Students will become familiar with plants on the 100 worst
weeds list and what national and international agencies are
doing to eradicate them.
E. Students will learn what local, state, national and international
agencies are involved in regulating invasive plant species.
F. Students will understand plant endemism and why certain areas
are more prone to invasion and are of higher biological value.
G. Students will do a comparative analysis of the United States
policies about invasion with South African policies about
H. Students will understand how human activity is promoting the
spread of invasive species.
Total Course Points:

Four in-class Quizzes will be worth 50 pts each. Quizzes will be
given on each Wednesday throughout the course (July 13, July 20,
July 27, August 3rd). 200 pts total
Plant ID of invasive plants in the Champlain Valley. Each
student will be responsible for collecting 5 common invasive
species in the Champlain Valley and preparing herbarium
specimens from them. Due date August 4th, by 5pm. 50 pts.
Presentation on invasive plant species. Each student is
responsible for a presentation on one of the 100 worst weeds in the
world and researching what makes it invasive and what
governments are doing to control it. Due date August 1st, in class.
50 pts.
Field assignments. We will go on one field trip per week on
Thursdays (July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4th) to various habitats
in Vermont (wetland, forest, alpine and to visit local nurseries). A
short one-page write up will be due after each field trip. Each onepage field report is worth 10 points. 40 pts.
Class Attendance/Discussion participation. Students will be
required to do nightly readings from the text book and/or scientific

articles and are expected to come to class and contribute to the
discussion about the material. Each class discussion will be worth 5
points. There will be a total of 12 class discussions for 60 pts total.

Participation points will be allocated according to the following


Unprepare Prepared,
contribute disengag
s little



above and

Total Course Point Summary:

Four in class quizzes

200 points

Plant ID assignment

50 points


50 points

Field assignments

40 points

Class discussion
Total for Course

60 points
400 points

Grading Scale. Your grade will be based on your total points at the
end of the semester. We follow the traditional grading scale: A = 90100%, B = 80-89%, C = 70-79%, D = 60-69%, F = < 60%. Plus and
minus grades reflect scores close to these borders. If the scores of the
class are too low overall, we adjust this scale downward. Any
adjustments of scores would only help, not hurt, your final grade.
Grade Challenges. If you think there is a mistake in grading your
quiz or another assignment, please bring your work to office hours for
reevaluation. Grades will not be discussed over email.
Classroom respect: Come prepared to dedicate your full attention to
your instructor during the class.
 Please arrive to class on time and plan to stay for the entire
lecture unless you have spoken to the professor or the TA in
 Keep cell phones and other electronic devices turned off during

Computers may be used for notes, but other uses such as email
or web-surfing is disruptive to students around you and

Email is usually the best way to contact me. We will make every
effort to answer your emails promptly, but do not expect an immediate
Academic Honesty and Plagiarism
Academic honesty is expected of all students. The University of
Vermont has a very strict policy concerning academic honesty and
plagiarism. Please see the statement on academic honesty
http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmppg/ppg/student/acadintegrity.pdf . Plagiarism
constitutes a violation of Academic Honesty and warrants failure on an
assignment and/or failure in the course. Plagiarism of any sort - e.g.,
copying part or all of a fellow student's report, copying from original
references, texts, or websites - will not be tolerated. The laboratory
assignments will be done as a class or in small groups but we
expect the final product to be your own work. The
consequences of plagiarism or cheating range from a score of zero on
the assignment or exam, to filing a complaint with the University’s
Coordinator for Academic Honesty which can result in expulsion from
How to succeed in the course
 Keep up with the reading. The reading assignments are
mostly short, but they are packed with information so it will not
be possible to learn all of the material right before an exam. You
will be required to answer questions based on the readings.
 Do the homework and lab assignments: Each assignment in
class allows you to understand a different facet about plant
invasions. Failing to turn in homework and complete lab
assignments will negatively affect your grade.
 Come to office hours or ask questions during class. We will
make every effort to help explain difficult concepts to facilitate
your learning. Ultimately, however, the learning happens within
you. We can provide information and context but real learning is
an individual process that requires work.