The University of Michigan is a public university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and founded in 1817. It currently enrolls 26,208 undergraduate and 15,466 graduate students.


Plants and Human Health (BIOL 212)
In recent decades, our society has generated renewed interests in plants for our needs to have a balanced diet, a more natural approach to medicine, a clean environment, and an overall healthy lifestyle. Plants are integral components of formulas to meet these needs. In this course, students will learn basic botany, human use of plants as food and medicine, and the important relationship between environment and human health.

Introduction to Plant Biology (Biology 230, 4 credits)
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to plant biology, from the cell and molecular level to whole organisms and ecosystems. It is co-taught by a professor from the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and one from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB). Areas covered include: Photosynthesis, respiration, hormonal and genetic components of growth and development, and mineral nutrition. Topics such as genetic engineering, global warming, and biotechnology will be discussed. Structural and evolutionary diversity of photosynthetic organisms (cyanobacteria, algae, vascular and nonvascular plants), with emphasis on their interrelationships and ecological roles. Topics such as economic botany, biodiversity, and plant-animal interactions will be covered.

Plant Diversity (BIOL 255)
This course examines plant diversity by groups, ranging from algae and nonvascular plants through primitive vascular plants and culminating in flowering plants. Using an evolutionary perspective, it treats plants as organisms and emphasizes the innovations and structural adaptations of the various plant groups as well as life history strategies. Weekly field trips allow exploration of local natural areas.

General Ecology (BIOL 281/EEB 381/ENVIRON 381)
The course introduces the basic concepts and principles of ecology as applied to the study of individuals, populations, and communities of both plants and animals. Course topics include: the roles of physical and biotic factors influencing the distribution and abundance of organisms; the dynamics of population growth; species interactions including competition, predation, mutualism; the structure of ecological communities; ecological succession; and applications of ecology to problems of environment and resource management.

Ethnobotany (EEB 455)
Ethnobotany is an integrated course utilizing an ecological framework to explore the botany, mycology, anthropology, natural resource management, history, linquistics, and American Indian studies of the human-plant relationships.  This course provides an intensive Northern Michigan field botany/mycology experience, followed by an applied ecology laboratory experience to test the constraints and opportunities of specific plants and fungi.  Lectures explore the cultural use of plants from a local to global perspective, with a focus on Great Lakes American Indian perspective.  Students will learn to identify, classify, harvest, and culturally process many of the Northern Michigan plants utilized for food, medicines, crafts, cordage, firewood, teas, smudging/smoking, and ceremonies during pre- and post- European-American contact.  Local American Indian cultural experts will provide several guest lectures and/or applied workshops.

Woody Plants: Biology and Identification (EEB 436)
Woody Plants is an intensive field, lab, and lecture-based learning experience focused on woody plant diversity. The lab and field trips focus on the identification and natural history of 160 trees, shrub and vine species that are important in Michigan environments, which include riparian and floodplain habitats, glacial lakes, moraines, bogs and a variety of forest types. Broader themes covered in lecture include biogeographic history and the assembly of Michigan plant communities, plant-insect interactions, ecological specialization, and impacts of anthropogenic environmental changes.

Biology of Fungi (EEB 468)
This course provides an introduction to all aspects of fungal biology, including: biodiversity, genetics, ecology, and the importance of fungi to society. Fungi are ubiquitous, and students will learn to recognize and identify fungi as well as to study the myriad roles they play in ecosystems as saprobes, parasites, and mutualists. Fungi are also excellent model systems and we will investigate their use as genetic models and study how the dawn of the post-genomic era has impacted the field.

Field Botany of Northern Michigan (EEB 556)
This course offers a comprehensive field approach to vascular plants of the region, including characteristic species of terrestrial and wetland habitats as well as species known for their rarity or distinctive distribution patterns. Topics covered include the major plant families of the Great Lakes area, basic terminology and techniques useful in plant identification, the general phytogeography and ecology of the region especially as these relate to recent geological history of the landscape, and field recognition of over 300 selected species. Prior familiarity with at least some families and species will be extremely helpful.

Other Links

University of Michigan Biological Station


Anthropology Department
Biology Department


Scott Herron (Associate Professor at Ferris State University and Biology Education Program Coordinator; UMBS);