June 6, 2017
17-167

Jordan West
Communications Specialist

VSU Biology Students Explore Plant Habitats on Sapelo Island

Students enjoying Sapelo Island.

Students enjoying the beach

VALDOSTA — More than two dozen Valdosta State University students recently spent a weekend on Sapelo Island conducting a field-oriented systematic survey of native plant families.
 
“This field experience is an integral component of these courses,” said Dr. J. Richard Carter, a professor in the Department of Biology. “It enables students to observe a diversity of living plants in their natural habitats, develop concepts of plant communities and the interrelationships of living organisms comprising these communities, and develop a deeper understanding about how plants are adapted to their environment.”
 
Students from Carter’s BIOL 3600: Local Flora and BIOL 3650: Plant Systematics courses had an opportunity to take a tour of the island, make observations and compile lists of the characteristic species, and employ the results of hands-on interpretation and analysis of plant structure to identify unknown plants using complex dichotomous keys in a regional floristic manual.
 
The intensive field experience is an annual Blazer Nation tradition, one made possible through a partnership with the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute at Sapelo Island and the VSU Foundation Inc. Price-Campbell Foundation Fund.
 
“Such activities are valuable in teaching practical aspects of plant science essential in the scientific process,” Carter said. “The isolation of Sapelo Island — free from normal day-to-day distractions — and the excellent facilities at the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute at Sapelo Island make this an ideal location for an intensive field experience.”
 
On the Web:
 
http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/arts-sciences/
 
https://ugami.uga.edu/
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