College of Agriculuture


ECOL-475/575 WFSc-475/575 SWES-475

SPRING 2005 Field Trip to Mexico

ROOM 511 Koffler
Bldg.  (a.k.a. Chem and Bio Sciences and or Bldg. 113)

Class Web Site

Lecture notes and student presentations

Course description: The course covers aspects of the biology and ecology of freshwater, marine and soil algae. We will also examine their cultivation for human and animal consumption, and as a renewable natural resource (biofuels and biochemicals). The course will include short field trips to local aquatic environments during the class period and a weekend trip to a marine site in Mexico.

Course objectives: The goals of this course are: i) to provide an overview of the biology of algae, ii) use the study of algae to provide a basis for understanding the evolutionary pathways to higher plants, iii) much of the biochemistry, reproductive biology, ecology and culture of plants can be best understood by studying the simpler systems in algae, iv) understand the role of algae in freshwater, marine and soil environments as primary producers, suppliers of nutrition and cover to animals and as resources for humans, v.) develop the knowledge and skills to identify and cultivate various algae species. The lab activities will focus on developing techniques specific to the identification and culture of algae as well as developing generalized lab skills including use of hemocytometers, various microscopes, spectrophotometers, and good lab practices.

Instructors: Dr. Kevin Fitzsimmons ph. 621-7687  
Instructors e-mail:    

Textbook: None required (Highly recommended text "A Biology of Algae" by Phillip SZE is currently out of print, but available at Amazon and other on-line resellers)

Exams: will be comprehensive and questions will come from lectures, textbooks, labs, student presentations, handouts and field trips. (Hint: topics which arise in two or more of these areas are the most likely to show up on exams.) Mid-terms will be reviewed in the class period following the exam. Short field trips may be conducted during the class period and attendance is required.

Grading: 2 mid-terms (higher score counts for 20%, lower score 15%) final 20% papers 20% labs 15% presentation & participation 10%

575 Research Project: Design, conduct and report a field or lab experiment developed with the instructors.

Research Papers: Pick subject from one of the Algae focused journals, use citations, and run keyword search in Google Scholar or Web of Science, read pertinent literature on topic, prepare review paper

475 - two papers, one presented to the class
575 - two papers, both presented to the class
575 - one of above papers will be experimental project write-up

We expect the term paper to be a review of a topic of interest within the fields of freshwater, marine or soil algae. The paper should be prepared on a word processor with a double-spaced hard copy of the report submitted on the scheduled dates. The sources of information should include at least three journal articles.  Part of the exercise is to become familiar with the peer-reviewed literature.  Books and web-sites can be used for background and graphics, but the bulk of material should come from the professional journals. 

The format should include a short Abstract which will introduce the topic and provide a synopsis of the rest of the paper. The Introduction of the paper should discuss the topic in more detail and present some background information. The important literature should be brought up at this point, both text and journal articles would be appropriate. The Discussion section should be your interpretation of how all this information fits together. You should provide a synthesis of information you have found from various sources. It is expected that not all of the references will deal with your exact subject. The point is that you are examining the literature to extract bits and pieces from various sources and studies to better understand and update one specific topic. By looking at the basic published information and incorporating ancillary information from the most current literature you should be able to prepare a report which is completely up to date.

The goal is to cover the topic with a well written paper, rather than a certain number of words or pages. But since several people will ask this anyway, we would expect the paper will take eight to ten pages of double spaced text with at least three referenced articles. Graphics are fine to include, either original or copies from literature. In fact tables or graphs generated from various studies are an excellent tool for a review paper.

Phycologist report: Phycology has been dominated by a relatively small number of important biologists. Each student will prepare a short oral biography of a well known phycologist. Several biographies are available in books and newsletters in the classroom. Each student will present a short report to the class on a phycologist they chose.

Class participation: Much of the learning from this course comes from discussions during labs, field trips and during student presentations. Students who do not take part in these activities will be at a disadvantage to students who do take part in discussions and activities. The 10% of the grade devoted to participation and presentation will be graded on the oral presentation and participation during labs.

Late and missed assignments: Scores on assignments turned in late will be reduced 10% per day. Lectures, labs, field trips and student presentations are integral to the course structure and exam questions will come from all these aspects. In case of missed lectures, labs, or field trips, handouts will be provided but student is responsible for getting class notes. For extenuating circumstances, call and leave message at 626-3322.

Course grades: Course grades will be determined on a 90 - 100 = A 80 - 89 = B 70 - 79 = C 60 - 69 = D basis.

Class Schedule - Spring 2016
Lectures (Lec) generally will be held from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Laboratory exercises (Lab) will usually be held from 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Date Lecture Lab (* Reports due) Readings - Chapters from SZE, handouts & reprints
Jan 14 Introductions - Classifications Microscopes Handouts
Jan 19 Blue-greens Cyanobacteria Calibrating microscopes Handouts
Jan 21 Cyanobacteria and Evolution Counting cells (*) handouts
Jan 26 Cyanobacteria and Evolution Stains (*)
Jan 28  Green algae- Chlorophyta Identification and keys Reprint
Feb 2 Green algae Peace Corps and Identification and keys(*) Keys
Feb 4 Green algae Reprints
Feb 9 Euglenoids, Cryptomonads and Haptophytes Isolations and culture Handouts and keys
Feb 11 Diatoms - Bacillariophyceae Isolations and culture(*)
Feb 16 Ochrophytes Productivity and DO Handout
Feb 18 Brown algae - Phaeophyceae Productivity and BOD(*) PowerPoint on line
Feb 23 Brown algae - Phaeophyceae First paper due (Student presentations Grads)  Power Point online
Feb 25 Brown algae - Phaeophyta Student presentations A-M Handout
Mar 1 Brown algae - Phaeophyta Student presentations N-Z  - Review for exam Reprints
Mar 3 Mid-term Handout
Mar 8 Dinoflagellates   Handout and slides
Mar 10 Dinoflagellates Reprint
Mar 15 Mar  12 - Mar 20   Spring break Fun Fun
Mar 22 Red algae - Rhodophyta Agars and gels (*)  Searles paper
Mar 24 Red algae - Rhodophyta Pigments (*), Reprint
Mar 29 Red algae - Rhodophyta  

Mar 31

Benthic ecology. Algae of Mexico.   Reprints
Apr 1-3 Field Trip to Mexico Guaymas Handouts
Apr 5 Red Algae - Rhodophyta Cromotography (*) Handouts
Apr 7 Red algae - Rhodophyta Spectrophotometry Reprints
Apr 12 Second exam
Apr 14 Phytoplankton Spectrophotometry (*) Handouts
Apr 19 Phytoplankton Reprint
Apr 21 Limnology Finish papers Handout
Apr 26 Second paper due Student presentations Grad students Outlines
Apr 28 Student presentations Student presentations N-Z Outlines
May 3 Review for final Student presentations  A-M Outlines
May 10 Final Exam 8:00 - 10:00

Annotated bibliography with links to algae sites
Students and their papers  Spring Semester 1996.
Field Trips 1997  Spring Semester 1997.
Field Trip to Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico 1998
Field Trip to Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico 1999
Field trip to Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico 2002
Field trip to Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico 2005
Toxic Algae Site
Drawings of common algae
Photos of common algae
Algagen Algae production systems
Jellett Biotek - Rapid Diagnostics for algal toxins
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - Algae
Link to collections and information
Link to Bowling Green University Algae Images
Web page with many diatom images.
Use of algae as a biofuel
Check here for a large number of reports on algae used to produce diesel, gas, and other fuels.
Aquatic Plants
Univ. of Florida Data Base on aquatic weeds and algae. ID's and control.
Gracilaria farming in Hawaii,
Production methods for growing Gracilaria in cages
Gracilaria hatchery
Methods developed to set spores on substrates for outplanting sporeling plants.
Diatoms and shellfish poisoning
Link to FDA's info site
A link to several seaweed Websites
Algae in extreme conditions
A nice review paper with citations.
Phycological Society of America
Home page of the Society with links to newsletters and other sites.
Harmful algae blooms
European Journal of Phycology
University of Texas Algae Culture Collection
Location for ordering live samples of many algae.
Provasoli-Guillard National Center

Lots of info on marine phytoplankton w/ culture media formula
CyanotechA major commercial producer of algae products.
Arizona Aquatic Gardens Extensive catalogue of aquatic plants for aquaria and decorative ponds. Located in Tucson, call 520-742-3777)

Accomodations: "Students needing special accomodations or special services should contact the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center, (, 621-1427, and/or The Center for Disability Related Resources(CEDRR), (, 621-3268. The needs for special services must be documented, verified by these U of A units, and presented to the instructor before the end of the second week of class. Everything possible will be done to enhance the learning experience."

Academic Integrity: "Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principals and applications of the cource materials. However, graded laboratory and homework exercises must be executed independantly, except as noted by the instructor. This course operates under the UA academic code as described in the University of Arizona General Catalog ("

Course Withdrawl: "Students withdrawing from this course must notify the instructor prior to nonattendence in classes and execute  drop  or  withdrawl  procedures  in  accordance  with  the  UA  General  Catalog ( Any student failing to attend class in two or more successive classes is subject to automatic withdrawl if arrangements have not been made between student and instructor."

Incomplete policy: "Any incomplete grade must be verified with a written agreement with the student which specifies the work to be done and a timetable of completion. The provision of the General Catalog will be followed ( 
Maintained by: Kevin Fitzsimmons --

Last update: 13 January 2014    Return to home page