Plant Ecology and Physiology

Winter 2022
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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How do plants sense and respond to changes in their external environment? What are the chemical signals produced by plants in response to external stimuli (light, gravity, temperature) and how are these signals amplified within the larger plant community? This program focuses on these questions through the study of individual plants (autecology), the interactions among plants (synecology), and the physiological interactions of plants with their environment (ecophysiology). 
Students will learn field and laboratory methods for studying plant community ecology and plant physiology including vegetation sampling methods, methods for measuring plant growth, photosynthesis, water-stress, and tree water-use. Lecture topics will include plant communities; competition and facilitation ecology; plant growth and development; plant hormones; water use; photosynthesis; rooting; and the potential effects of large-scale disturbances, such as climate change, on plant communities. We will apply what we learn about plant physiology to better understand current research in the broader fields of ecosystem and community ecology. Our readings will be divided between current widely used texts in plant physiology and ecology, historical papers of great importance, and current research papers from technical journals.
Local day trips, workshops, laboratory, and field experiences will allow us to observe field research on plant physiology, plant restoration, and the plant ecology of diverse environments, as well as conduct student-driven research on plant ecology and physiology. This is also a writing intensive program for technical science writing. Communication skills will be emphasized, particularly reading scientific articles and writing for scientific audiences.



College-level biology, college-level chemistry, and equivalent of college-level precalculus (algebra and trigonometry). Students with previous credits in botany, taxonomy, and/or experience using plant taxonomic keys are especially encouraged.


Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 20043

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies and careers in

biology, botany, ecology, environmental studies, field studies, natural history, and technical writing.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

Upper-division science credit may be awarded in Plant Ecology, Plant Physiology, and Scientific Writing with satisfactory completion of all program work.


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 A1105 - Lecture