Diversity of Algae, Fungi and Plants (B-KUL-G0N10A)

This is a translated version. Original version in Dutch.
6.0 ECTS Dutch 66.5 Second termSecond term Introductory Cannot be taken as part of an examination contract
POC Biologie

The student is able:

  • To use phylogenetic methodology to construct the cladogram of a simplified data matrix, or to articulate or evaluate a statement for a given cladogram/phenogram.
  • To understand and use the general taxonomy jargon and link specialised terminology commonly used in certain taxa to this general jargon.
  • To describe or explain the different life cycles (or elements therein) and compare them mutually in order to illustrate, evaluate or hypothesise a certain evolutionary or ecological trend.
  • To classify taxa of algae, fungi  or (flowering) plants according to suggested phylogenetic relationships, and to discuss this classification using selected features with systematic relevance.
  • To position in the life cycle or link to a taxon macro- or microscopical structures observed on living, dried or photographed plant material and to illustrate a given evolutionary trend by making a group-made photobased report of own observations.
  • To make an herbarium containing 15 herbal specimens of different flowering plant families.
  • To place (flowering) plants in the appropriate taxon based on living, dried or photographed plant material and to discuss this position using the appropriate features observed on the material.
  • To delimit larger clusters in APG-III in order to to be able to demonstrate the evolution of a floral organ, using features of representative taxa described in the lectures and illustrating these with appropriate specimens from the own herbarium.
  • To determine the species name of flowering plants using Heukels' flora of Nederland.

Theoretical and practical knowledge of vegetative and generative structures as seen in the course Bouw en Functie van Planten.


4.0 ects. Diversity of Algae, Fungi and Plants (B-KUL-G0N10a)

4.0 ECTSDutchFormat: Lecture32.5Second termSecond term
POC Biologie

In this introductory course, a global overview of the diversity of fungi, algae and embryophytes (with emphasis on seed plants and flowering plants) is presented.

The course starts with an overview of the basic principles and methods used in systematics. The concept "botanic garden" is also introduced.
Special attention is given to the relevance of phylogenetic thinking for other biology disciplines (e.g. comparative anatomy) and for reconstructing classifications with general relevance.

Next, an overview is given of the most important fossil and living taxa of algae, fungi and embryophytes in which the life cycles and characteristic adaptations are central. Taxa will be discussed by means of one more more type examples.

Finally, students learn a first time about APG-III, with special emphasis on important indigenous flowering plant families and their characteristic features. When relevant, the economic importance of flowering plants is stressed.

  • A recent version of he course text for the lectures, Diversiteit van Wieren, Schimmels en Planten - Levenscycli, Indeling en Evolutie, is made available by Course Services of Scientica. The version of the former academic year is to be used, but can differ in certain aspects.
  • Slides of each lesson can be found on Toledo. It is advised to print those and use them to make additional notes.
  • See further for study material needed for the practica.

Lectures are alternated by more active learning methods where student consolidate and further deepen their knowledge.

Theory about phylogenetic methodology is practiced with an authentic excercise using parsimony software.

One lecture is held in Arenbergpark to help familiarise students with recognising important indigenous trees.

To help recognising important flowering plant families, a photobased quiz is available on Toledo.


1.5 ects. Diversity of Algae, Fungi and Plants: Practicals (B-KUL-G0N56a)

1.5 ECTSDutchFormat: Practical26.0Second termSecond term
POC Biologie

  • a lightmicroscopic study of vegetative and generative structures of type examples of key taxa.
  • making a photobased report of observations in order to illustrate a given evolutionary trend.
  • a macroscopic (comparative) study of important, selected indigenous flowering plant families. Species have to be determined by the students, using several types of floras.
  • A visit to the botanic gardens of Leuven in order to illustrate important indigenous flowering plant families.

In addition, students make an herbarium. Instructions are given at the beginning of the semester and placed on Toledo. During the semester relevant support is offered. The herbarium has to be brought to the exam and  is used to answer one question. A few finalised herbarium specimens can be shown after easter holidays to receive feedback prior to finalising the herbarium.

A recent version of the manual Practicum Diversiteit van Wieren, Schimmels en Planten, is distributed by Course Services of Scientica.

In addition, each student needs a personal specimen of the flora Van der Meijden R. (2005), Heukels' Flora van Nederland, Wolters-Noordhoff, editie 23 (or higher) to be able to follow the practica and making the herbarium. In other courses such as Geïntegreerd Veldwerk en Ecologische Stages en Excursies this flora is also used. This flora is sold by an assistent of the course Geïntegreerd Veldwerk.

The practicum are obligated. Failure to attend practica illegitimately results in exclusion from the exam.

0.5 ects. Diversity of Algae, Fungi and Plants: Field Courses (B-KUL-G0N57a)

0.5 ECTSDutchFormat: Field trip8.0Second termSecond term
POC Biologie

The National Botanic Garden of Belgium at Meise is visited. During the excursion emphasis is placed on the concept of a botanic garden, the evolution of land plants and the biomes of planet earth.

no specific learning material

The excursion is obligatory. Failure to attend the excursion will result in exclusion from the exam.


Evaluation : Diversity of Algae, Fungi and Plants (B-KUL-G2N10a)

Type : Exam during the examination period
Description of evaluation : Oral
Type of questions : Open questions, Closed questions
Learning material : None

17 out of 20 marks can be earned in the final exam, containing 4 questions.

  • Question 1. (5 marks). An open-ended question for oral answer testing knowledge of life cycles and the ability to situate structures observed in the lectures and practica.
  • Question 2. (4 marks). An open-ended question for oral answer regarding APG-III and the features of flowering plant families. The herbarium is used briefly for this question.
  • Question 3. (4 marks). A closed-ended question for written answer in which concepts are te be situated mutually, testing knowledge and understanding of the jargon and knowledge of the delimited taxa and their supportive characters.
  • Question 4. (4 marks). A closed-ended question for written answer in which theorems are to be evaluated. This question tests understanding and appropriate use of jargon and knowledge of the delimited taxa and their supportive characters.


3 out of 20 marks can be earned in interim tests, prior to the exam.

  • Test 1. (1 mark). At the start of the semester. To test understanding and appropriate use of the phylogenetic methodology required for the remainder of the course.
  • Test 2. (2 marks). At the end of the semester. Comprising the identification of trees and flowering plant families and the determination of flowering plant species using Heukels' Flora.

In each question, base knowlegde and additional knowlegde are discriminated, their ratio in the quotation being 3/1. 2/3 of base knowlegde has to be acquired for scoring 50% for base knowledge.


Bonus credits can be earned via the practica and herbarium.

  • The group-made photobased report aswell as other assignments an cooperation during practica give the ability to earn up to 1,5 bonus credits.
  • With the herbarium an additional 1,5 bonus credits can be earned.


The final score (/20) is to be obtained by summing all partial scores and adding bonus credits, however, with a maximum of 9/20 if the sum of marks on the 4 exam questions is below 10/20.

The mode of examiation remains unchanged.

Formerly earned marks on the test, during the practicum and herbarium are adopted unchanged.