Motto: Probing into Nature

BSc. Botany Course Outline

BIOL111 – Plant Biology:
Principal groups of plants, representative life cycles, form and function, physiology & modes of nutrition, reproduction, growth and development (2 credit units).

BIOL112 – Ecology:
Basic biological concepts, theories and principles of ecology, energy flow in the ecosystem, trophic levels and biogeochemical cycles, types of habitats, simple treatment of interactions between organisms (symbiosis), pollution and explanation of pollution terms; sanitation and sewage treatment, conservation needs and methods of conserving natural resources, soil and its components, effects of humans on the environment. (2 credit units).

BIOL113 – Animal Biology:
History and scope of zoology, invertebrate and vertebrate structures, function and levels of organization including physiology, nutrition, respiration, excretion, circulatory systems, hormones and reproduction (2 credit units).

BIOL114 – Introductory Evolution and Genetics:
The cell concept, ultrastructure of the cell, mitosis and meiosis.  Chromosomes; genes; their relationships and importance, Mendelian laws, explanation of key genetics terms e.g. genotype, phenotype, heterosis/hybridity, dominance, alleles etc., concept of multiple alleles (e.g. blood groups), sex linkages and sex linked characters, mutation  (including their advantages and disadvantages), gene expression.  General importance and application of genetics in agriculture and medicine (2 credit units).

BIOL211 – General Ecology:
Relationships between individuals or groups within a species, and between individuals or groups of different species (symbiosis), some aspects of applied ecology e.g. biological control, game and rangeland management, population dynamics:  growth survivorship curves, life tables, age structure, carrying capacity and environmental resistance; the ecology of humans: resources, pollution, population. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 112).

BIOL212 – General Physiology:
Chemicals of life: aspects of the chemistry of organic compounds of biological importance, general characteristics of enzymes; nutrition, digestion and absorption in animals; biological oxidation; composition, structure, properties and functions of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Biosynthesis: photosynthesis and protein synthesis. Cell membrane structure and function. (3 credit units; Prerequisites – BIOL 111, 113)

BIOL213 – Biological techniques:
Handling and care of microscopes, hand lens; microscopic examination of marials; hand sectioning, care and uses of biological tool kits and simple physiological apparatus; dissection guides, biological illustrations. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – None, except 200 Level standing).

BIOL214 – General Genetics:
Chromosomal basis of inheritance; cytoplasmic inheritance; fertilization and genetic interactions; chemical basis of inheritance (DNA, RNA); Genetic linkage and recombination; mutation, cytogenetic effects of radiation and chemical agents. (2 credit units, Prerequisite – BIOL 114).

BIOL215 Biological Nomenclature and Taxonomy:
Historical background, pre-Linnean, Linnean and Darwinian, taxonomic hierarchies; species concept, categories below species, and categories above species; biological nomenclature, new systematics; numerical and biochemical taxonomy, keys and keying. (2 credit units, Prerequisites –BIOL 111 and BIOL 113).

BIOL216 Hydrobiology:
Principles of aquatic biology with particular reference to limnology, the physical properties of water and their biological significance, thermal stratification of lakes, waves and currents and their effects on substratum, dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide and inorganic ions in freshwater, the carbonate-bicarbonate system and pH, eutrophic and oligotrophic lakes, the chemical composition of African lake waters, freshwater communities, factors influencing the distribution and productivity of aquatic macrophytes, phytoplankton, benthic algae, zooplankton in freshwater, the marine, brackish water/estuarine communities and chemical factors, colonization and succession in aquatic ecosystems, adaptations and inter-relationships (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 211).

BIOL218 Biostatistics:
Variability in biological data: continuous and discontinuous variables; Statistical sampling procedure – observations and problems of estimation; Representation and summarization of biological data; Frequency distribution; Measures of central tendency and dispersion; Probability theory; Normal, binomial and Poisson distribution; t-test, F-test and chi-squared test; Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and covariance; Principles of experimental design; Correlation; linear and curvilinear regression; Transformation. (2 credit units; Prerequisite O-Level Maths and 200 Level standing).

BOTY221 – Cryptogamic Botany:
Review of the Thallophyta, Bryophyta and Pteridophyta; characteristics of the groups and their phylogenetic relationships; the development of more advanced structures and their origin from lower plant groups; comparative study of life histories to emphasize the differences between the groups; some aspects of palynology. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 111).

BOTY222 – Spermatophyta:
Review of the gymnosperms and angiosperms; similarities and differences between gymnosperms and angiosperms, the development of the spermatophytes, and differences between the group and cryptogams; characteristics of classes, phylogenetic relationships; comparative studies within the group. (3 credit units, Prerequisite – BIOL 111).

ZOOL231 – Invertebrata:
General classification of invertebrates, characteristics of the main invertebrate classes; levels of organization, biology of some selected invertebrates of economic importance, e.g. mollusca and arthropoda; phylogenetic relationships, evolution and adaptive biology of major invertebrate groups. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 113).

ZOOL232 – Vertebrata:
Evolution, classification and general characteristics of the fishes (Agnatha, Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes) and the Tetrapods (Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves and Mammalia) with special reference to taxa of aculateson origin; evolutionary adaptations for terrestrial life.  (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 113).

BIOL300 – Students’ Industrial Work Experience (SIWES)
Students spend a six-month period of attachment to gain real life practical experiences of processes, procedures and activities in a biology-related establishment (e.g., laboratories, research institutes, industries, etc.) (6 credit unit; Prerequisite –300 Level standing).

BIOL311 – Field Course I:
Biological sampling techniques in local habitats; also involves visits to research institutes, industries etc. within the locality (20-km radius of Zaria).  (1 credit unit; Prerequisite – None, except 300 Level standing).

BIOL313 – Biogeography and Soil Biology:

  1. Distribution of world flora, floristic regions of the world and zoogeographic regions of the world; comparison of tropical and temperate flora, dispersal and colonization of land by plants and animals; island biogeography; relationships between vegetation, soil types and climate; relationships between plant distribution and world fauna.
  2. Classification and characteristics of soils, soil analysis, plant and soil water relationships.  Soil sampling techniques in local habits; Adaptations of organisms to subterranean life. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 211 and BIOL 215).

BIOL315 – Microbial and Molecular Biology:
Genetic studies of microorganisms; metabolic pathways, genes and chromosomes, nucleic acids, replication, transcription and translation, gene expression and regulation, gene sequencing, protein synthesis.  (3 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 214).

BOTY321 Algae:
A detailed account of the systematics, morphology, reproductive systems, life histories and ecology of freshwater and marine algae, including considerations of their biological and economic importance. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BOTY 221).

BOTY323 – Mycology:
A detailed account of the systematics, morphology, life cycles, and dissemination of fungi with special reference to those of economic importance; and consideration of standard mycological techniques. (2 credit units; prerequisite – BOTY 221).

BOTY325 – Plant Physiology I:
Seed morphology and germination; growth patterns of plants from seed to senescence with all metabolic activities involved; development of roots, stems and leaves; growth apices; flowering; formation and dispersal of seeds and fruits; rhythms of growth and growth  correlations; factors affecting growth; methods of growth analysis. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 212).

BOTY327 – Bryophyta, Pteridophyta and Gymnospermae:
Study of the life cycles, morphology and anatomy of Bryophyta, Pteridophyta and Gymnospermae; origin and evolution of vascular elements and the seed habit; characteristics of selected species of economic or botanical importance. (3 credit units; Prerequisite – BOTY 221).

BIOL400 – Research orientation and Project:
Each final year students is required to carry out an original research project under the supervision of an academic staff member.  The findings of the research are presented by the student at a departmental seminar.  A thesis (based on the project) is prepared, bound and submitted by the student for evaluation by the department, and is defended in a viva voce before an External Examiner.  (6 credit units; Prerequisite – None, but to be eligible to undertake this course unit, a student who came in at the 100 Level of study must accumulate a total of 66 earned credit units, or 42 earned credit units if he/she came in at the 200 Level.)

BIOL411 – Field Course II:
Field trips are conducted to fulfill the requirements of field ecology, hydrobiology, entomology, plant soil relations, etc.  The trips include visits to game and forest reserves and National Parks, Research Institutions of pure and applied biology, seashores and human-made lakes, etc. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 311)

BIOL412 – Principles of Plant and Animal Breeding:
Importance of plant and animals breeding, cytogenetical principles of breeding, heterosis, inbreeding consequences, incompatibility mechanisms, sterility, breeding methods, disease and pest resistance and their inheritance, major farm and domestic plants and animals and breeding practices used to sustain the desired qualities in them. (3 credit units; Prerequisites BIOL 315).

BIOL413 – Population Biology and Evolution:
Biological properties of a species; Natural selection, variations, isolation mechanisms (including their breakdown resulting in hybridization, adaptation, origin of life, origin of species, and adaptive radiation, Evolution of selected groups of plants and animals, including human.  (3 credit units, Prerequisites – BIOL 211, 214).

BIOL414 – Conservation and Development of Natural Resources
Deforestation and Afforestation; principles, problems and prospects of forestry conservation practices in Nigeria.  Desertification and its control.  World outlook on conservation (Biodiversity conservation: international biodiversity conventions); management and utilization of forest resources; plant genetic resources in breeding: seed preservation, viability and health.  Food crops and domestic animals and their wild relatives; Captive breeding in botanical and zoological gardens, and wildlife parks and arboreta. Field gene banks. Safe movement of germplasm. Conservation of mineral resources. (2 credit units; pre-requisite – BIOL 311).

BIOL415 – Plant and Animal Cytogenetics:
Karyotype and identity of chromosomes, polyploidy, changes in structure of chromosomes; sex chromosomes and sex determination;  Karyotyping in humans, Polytene chromosomes, and effects of radiation and chemical agents.  Chemical mutagens, effects of radiation on biomolecules.  Radiation effects on chromosomes.  (3 credit units; Prerequisites BIOL 214).

BIOL416 – Special Options: (Restricted Electives in Specialized Areas)
Students are required to take 3 credits of directed studies in any one of the areas listed below.  Availability of each area depends on the availability of staff on ground.  (2 credits; Prerequisite – None, except 400 Level standing).

Examples of options offered are:

  1. Environmental pollution
  2. Biological control methods
  3. Biological Conservation and gene banks
  4. Biotechnology
  5. Radiation Biology
  6. Silviculture and afforestation
  7. Horticulture
  8. Plant tissue culture
  9. Weed Biology
  10. Pest Control
  11. Public Health
  12. Human Genetics
  13. Aquaculture
  14. Introductory Field Ornithology
  15. Beekeeping
  16. Immunology of insect vectors
  17. Principles of animal production
  18. Environmental impact assessment
  19. Introduction to bioinformatics
  20. Plant virology
  21. Trace elements in the biofare
  22. Insects and man
  23. Serological techniques in disease diagnosis

BIOL417 – Nigerian Fauna and Flora:
Field identification and recognition of Nigerian plants and animals; Plant and animal indicators of Nigerian biomes (i.e., association of habitats with specific plants and animals); identification of plants through preserved herbarium specimens, identification of animals through signs left by them; e.g footprints, trails, runways and museum specimens, Life history strategies of selected Nigerian plants and animals; Nigeria’s protected area system. (3 credit units; Prerequisite BIOL 311, 313).

BIOL418 – General Practical Biology/Botany/Zoology
This course unit examines students on the basis of their pooled laboratory and field practical experiences during the entire degree programme. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – None, except 400 Level standing).

BOTY421 – Plant Physiology II:
Light and its effect on biological processes in plants, photoperiodism; plant tropisms and factors controlling them; effects of temperature – vernalization; water absorption, movement of water and minerals in plant body; transpiration and translocation; physiology of senescence and fruit ripening; abscission and cell death. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BIOL 212).

BOTY422 – Plant Pathology
The concept of diseases in plants, classification of plant diseases, detailed study of common local plant diseases, isolation and study of pathogens, Koch’s postulates, general epidemiology, plant disease physiology, control of plant diseases, disease resistance. (2 credit units; Prerequisite – BOTY 222).

BOTY423 – Economic Botany
Plants of economic importance such as cotton, groundnut, cocoa, etc., their origin, distribution, agronomic practices, breeding, diseases and their control, processing and marketing, weed biology and control methods. Non-Timber Forest Plant Products of Nigeria (medicinal plants, spices, edible wild fruits and vegetables) (3 credit units; Pprerequisites – BOTY 222).

BOTY424 – Angiospermae:
Origin and evolution of angiosperms with special reference to their reproductive parts and vascular elements; morphology and anatomy of angiosperms; comparative study of classes of angiosperms; life histories of selected members which are of economic/botanical importance. (3 credit units; prerequisite – BOTY 222).

BOTY425 – Comparative Plant Anatomy
Characteristics and classifications of tissues, meristem organization, evolution of vascular tissues, comparative wood anatomy, anatomical adaptations to specialized habitats, applied aspects of plant anatomy. (3 credit units; Prerequisite – BOTY 221, BOTY 222).

BOTY426- Advanced Plant Physiology:
Bud and seed dormancy, biochemistry of seed germination, chemical control of plant growth – natural and artificial controls, the occurrence, structure and mode of action of growth regulators – promoters, inhibitors and herbicides; Introductory ecophysiology: plant pollutants and their modes of action. (3 credit units; Prerequisite – BOTY 421, 327).

Department of Botany, Faculty of Life Sciences
Ahmadu Bello University Zaria - Nigeria
HOD, Pofessor A. K. Adamu