Teaching

I believe that modern teaching in systematic biology must results in a balanced learning of theoretical concepts, practical field skills, and analytical computational capacities for the students.

On the undergraduate level, I teach seminars and practicals in courses on plant systematics and diversity, botany, plant physiology and phylogenetics including species identification of tropical and European plants with field excursions, and the use of plants in pharmacology. For instance, in courses for biology, pharmacology and economics students at the University of Gothenburg, such as: “Form and function of organisms”, “Biodiversity and Systematics”, “Plant physiology”, “Origins, structure toxicology of drugs”. You can find an example for an undergraduate teaching session here.

My graduate courses focus on the evolution, biogeography and conservation of plants, for instance at the University of Natal, the University of Leipzig or with Physalia courses. I am passionate about teaching botany and R for data analysis. On various occasions I have designed and taught block courses or workshops on these topics, for instance on Biodiversity data in Ecology and Biogeography, Biodiversity data – from field to yield, and Big data Biogeography – Species occurrences in space and time.

In my courses, if possible I alternate front lectures, group discussion and group activities and follow a research-oriented approach. I encourage students to read scientific articles as the most direct source of information, and in graduate courses promote the design and development of research projects within the course. If possible, I design the course to involve the students as authors of a manuscript for peer-reviewed scientific journals

Well-designed course materials are crucial for student learning and equal opportunities. Therefore, I provide an individual webpage for each course with online exercises and tutorials to help students prepare and rework lectures and practical exercises (for example here). Despite the increasing importance of computational skills and statistical methods, I consider field experience and excursions (adapted to different curricular levels) a crucial element of education in organismic biology. Therefore, whenever possible I implement sessions of data collection, including plant identification and the use of scientific collections, in modules on data analysis (for example here).