Introduction to Plant Physiology (PLSC 3005W)

4 Credits, Spring Semester

Plants are incredibly important to life. We need them for two of our most basic needs: air and food. It is therefore critically important for us that they are able to withstand extreme variations in their surrounding environment. Thankfully, plants are masters in adaptation and survival. This is due to their amazing sophistication in handling environmental stresses, which we are still far from completely understanding. Despite this, there is enough material and knowledge available to help us grasp the key, fundamental aspects of the physiology and its response to the environment of these deceptively "simple" organisms.

In this class the students will hone basic knowledge and develop hands-on experience with key plant processes including whole-plant water relations, mineral nutrition, photosynthesis, respiration, nitrogen fixation, long distance transport, hormonal regulation and how they respond to environmental stresses such as drought, heat, chilling and pathogens. Lectures, in-class group discussions and 5’ workshops will be complemented with labs in which students will master the basics of scientific investigation and data analysis. This is also a Writing Intensive (WI) class and throughout the course, students will learn key techniques in scientific writing, which are needed to communicate their findings as lab reports and oral presentations. This class is ideal for students who would like to develop a basic and "big picture" understanding of plant organismal physiology. 


Advanced Discussions in Plant Physiology (AGRO 8900)

2 Credits, Fall Semesters

Knowledge in fundamentals of Plant Physiology is essential to a variety of scientists including plant biologists, agronomists, horticulturists, breeders, ecologists, genomicists and climate scientists as part of the toolbox needed to better understand the causal relationships between genotypes, functional phenotypes and the environment. Outside of academia, such knowledge is increasingly sought-after by seed companies, phenomics start-ups, consultancy groups, NGOs and even crop insurance companies.

In this class, students will develop a knowledge base in Plant Physiology through a set of introductory lectures that will cover key concepts in the field. This base will then be leveraged to access higher-order knowledge through i) discussion of topical, advanced research papers from primary Plant Physiology literature and ii) exposure to guest lectures on novel developments in the field from different, multi-disciplinary perspectives. Throughout this process, students will continuously engage in critical thinking and active learning with their peers while developing skills in the craft of reviewing, critiquing and translating primary Plant Physiology literature. Students in this class will leverage all those experiences to develop a literature review or a grant proposal project on a Plant Physiology-based hypothesis that will directly benefit their current graduate research.