Teaching

Courses taught regularly by Dr. Sessa.
New! Study Abroad course to be offered Summer A, 2018

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Undergraduate courses

BSC 2011 – Integrated Principles of Biology, II
3 credits, odd falls
Part of UF’s two-semester introductory biology sequence. The primary goal of this course is to establish a coherent foundation of knowledge in biology and to prepare students for comprehension in advanced biology courses and science in general. Fundamental concepts discussed include the evolution, diversity, and function of photosynthetic life; the evolution, structure, function, and physiology of animals; and the ecology of organisms, populations, communities, biomes, and the globe. An additional course goal is to develop critical thinking skills for development of reasoned thought and for evaluation of life experiences. Dr. Sessa teaches the 5-week Plants module of this class (the other BSC 2011 modules are Animals, and Ecology).

BOT 2710 – Practical Plant Taxonomy
3 credits, even falls
Introduction to plant taxonomy including principles of systematic botany, nomenclature, and classification, and emphasizing identification of major plant families. Students will work with ferns, lycophytes, gymnosperms, and flowering plants, and will learn to recognize the major groups of plants anywhere in the world. Course blog: http://practicalplanttaxonomy.blogspot.com

 

Graduate courses

BOT 6935/ZOO6927 Phylogenetic Systematics Seminar Series
1 credit, every fall
The goal of this seminar is to engage faculty and students across the diversity of systematics/evolutionary biology. The topic may vary from semester to semester, but formats include the discussion of current papers of high interest/impact (e.g., Nature, Science, PNAS), papers on previously chosen topics (e.g., phylogeography; large phylogenetic trees; phylogenetics and climate change; systematics and conservation), or short research presentations by students.

BOT 6935/ZOO6927 Phylogenomics
3 credits, even springs
The goal of this course is to acquaint graduate students with the theory and methods used in modern phylogenebc analyses, particularly those that involve “big” data sets, either in terms of numbers of taxa or markers. We also cover advanced phylogenetic topics such as divergence time analyses, historical biogeographical analyses, supermatrix and super tree approaches, transcriptome assembly, concordance analysis, and comparative methods in phylogenetics.

BOT 5725 – Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
4 credits, odd springs
Introduction to systematic principles and techniques used in classification; field and herbarium methods. Survey of vascular plants, their classification, morphology, and evolutionary relationships. Co-taught with Drs. Pam Soltis, Doug Soltis, and Nico Celanese.

BOT 6726 – Principles of Systematic Biology
4 credits, odd springs
Theory of biological classification and taxonomic practice. Laboratory experience in taxonomic procedures and techniques, including computer methods. Co-taught with Drs. Pam Soltis, Doug Soltis, and Nico Cellinese.