BIOL-332   Plant Physiology

How efficient are plants in converting light energy to chemical energy? How closely is the global food supply tied to energy or fresh water supplies? How do plants complete with other plants, animals, pathogens, or survive climate extremes when they are rooted in place? This course relates the form and function of plants across a continuum from the physiological to the ecological, from the perspective of an individual plant and that of a plant canopy. We will discover the unique ways in which plants respond to environmental stressors like water deficits or excesses, or by producing an astounding variety of strange chemicals or structures to fight pathogens and herbivores. Emphasis will be placed on how humans can use plants to produce food using agroecological methods, to address food production capacity in impoverished areas, to sequester atmospheric carbon, or to restore contaminated land areas. Students will use instruments and methods to evaluate physiological plant functions and then conduct independent investigations using those tools. Lectures and laboratories. Prerequisites: Biology 161 (or 141) and 230, Chemistry 253 (or 261 and 262).