Laboratory methods for biodiversity

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
BIO/01 BIO/05 BIO/06
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to provide: a) theoretical and practical knowledge about biodiversity; b) evidence of how this knowledge could be acquired through the interdisciplinary scientific approach; c) the ability to identify organisms and biological specimens.
Expected learning outcomes
Acquisition of methods to study biodiversity in animal and plant kingdoms, using cell and molecular biology techniques.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In the second semester lessons will be held following the evolution of COVID epidemic. If possible both theoretical and lab lessons will be held in classroom. Otherwise lesson will be held in synchronous modality, on Zoom or Teams, depending on teachers.
Course syllabus
Methods for the observation of animal and plant tissues, including optical, confocal and transmission electron microscopy and immunolocalization techniques. Protein extraction and analysis, comparison of electrophoretic patterns of proteins from animal and plant organisms. DNA extraction, purification and analysis, comparison of different patterns observed in animal and plant organisms. Basic knowledge about molecular markers and how they are used to study genetic variability in plants and animals. The "DNA barcoding" for species identification. Principles of Bioinformatics: retrieval of nucleic acid sequences from public data bases, sequence comparison, multi-alignments, phylogenetic tree reconstructions. Hints on the software for the above mentioned analyses and for the analyses of protein sequences.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of biology, genetics, plant and animal cell structure, animal and plant histology. Knowledge of plant and animal taxonomy.
Teaching methods
Traditional lessons/seminars are accompanied by practical lessons. In laboratory students work together in small groups.
Teaching Resources
Lecture slides, methodological reports and scientific publications will be made available to the students during the course and later this material will be available in ARIEL.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Even though the lectures/laboratory experiences will be given by more teachers, there will be a single final exam. For the exam, each student will make an oral presentation (in English), showing experimental approaches for studying biodiversity. A discussion will follow each presentation.
BIO/01 - GENERAL BOTANY - University credits: 0
BIO/05 - ZOOLOGY - University credits: 0
Lessons: 48 hours