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Urban forest fragments as a living laboratory for teaching botany: an example from Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

Citation

Versieux, Leonardo; Calvente, Alice (2021), Urban forest fragments as a living laboratory for teaching botany: an example from Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kd51c5b37

Abstract

"Plant blindness" is affecting humans’ relationships with plants, which has negative consequences for both science and conservation. It is,therefore,important to find new ways to promote societal interest in botany and plants. One possibilityis encouraging the use of informal settings to promote curiosity and provide education to students. Forest fragments can be regarded as open air labs for teaching botany, especially on university campuses. We aimed to formally document the angiosperm diversity in the Mata dos Saguis(MS), a fragment of Atlantic forest under restoration belonging to the central campus of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil. We recorded 140 species, 113 genera in 52 families and 24 orders of angiosperms. The MS has nearly10% of the species and one third of all the families occurring in the entire state of Rio Grande do Norte, representing the main evolutionary groups of the angiosperms and we also recorded two new species-occurrences for the state. Here we provide a checklist of the MS – a location that has been used as an open-air laboratory by many UFRN undergraduate courses in biosciences. We also share examples that can be replicated in other institutions and discuss the process of learning systematic botany in floristically-richcountries by means of alternative and hands-on experiences.

Methods

The photos provided in this dataset were collected by the Professors Alice Calvente, Leonardo Versieux or are part of their archives. It includes one photographed specimen of the Herbarium UFRN, as well as activities done by botany students in the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.