The faculty of the Division of Botany is devoted to teaching and research in the study of plants, algae, fungi and protists. The division offers exciting opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue their goals in diverse areas of research. Coursework is offered in the areas of molecular biology and physiology, morphology, physiological and community ecology, population biology, systematics and evolution, medical plants, and palaeobotany.
Botanics must have technical skills to extract information at all levels of inquiry (e.g., morphology, cytology, genetics, DNA sequences, organic chemistry, physiology, anatomy, ecology) and the theoretical background to interpret it correctly. Modern botanics integrates a diverse array of disciplines ranging from molecular, cell and developmental biology, to ecology and evolutionary biology. Data-gathering techniques include DNA sequencing, protein electrophoresis, electron and light microscopy, controlled growth experiments, and field studies of ecology and distribution.
Specialists are needed in all groups of plants, flowering plants as well as the less heavily studied algae, mosses, ferns and fungi (including lichens). This concentration is appropriate for students planning graduate studies in these areas. More immediate employment possibilities are in the National Park Service, state Natural Heritage and Endangered Plant Programs, private consulting firms, conservation organizations, botanic gardens, and herbaria. Botany is a good way to indulge urges to travel, do science, and contribute to society, all at the same time.