Ecological Plant Physiology

Biology 315

Spring 2003




Instructor: James C. Pushnik

Office: Holt 301J       Office Hours: M 3:00-4:00; T 2:00-5:00, W 11:00-12:00

Tel. 898-6362             Email:

Text: Environmental Physiology of Plants; 3rd Edition; Fitter and Hay; 2002;

Academic Press.

Course Schedule: Lecture M, W, F 10:00-10:50;  Lab M 11:00-1:50



Date                Lecture Topic                                     Reading          Other


1/27                 Introduction to Ecological Physiology                1-8          

1/29-1/31         Evolution of Adaptation                                    9-20     Ackerly et al 2000


                        Energy and Carbon

2/3-2/7             Radiation Environments                                     23-32  

2/10                 Effects of Spectral Distribution                          33-42

2/12-2/14         Effects of Irradiance on Plants                           43-57

2/17-2/19         Plant Responses to Elevated CO2                            58-74


                        Root Environment and Resource Acquisition

2/24                 Nutrients and Growth                                       75-82

2/26-2/28         Nutrient in the Soil System                                82-97

3/3                   Physiological Adaptations to Mineral Stress       98-106

3/5-3/7             Morphological Adaptations and

Plant Microbe Interactions                                106-130


3/10-3/14         Water Relations of Plants and Soil                     131-156

3/24                 Adaptations Favoring Germination

 and Seedlings in Dry Environments                   157-161

3/26-3/28         Adaptations Favoring Survival and

Reproduction under Water-stress Conditions    162-185

4/2                   Special Problems for Trees                               186-190


Responses to Environmental Stresses

4/4-4/7             Temperature Relations of Plants                        193-205

4/9/-4/11          Plant Adaptations and Resistances to Low

 Temperature                                                    205-231                      

4/14                 Survival of Plants in High Temperature

 Environments                                                   231-240


4/16-4/23         Toxicities and Toxic Environments                     241-248

4/25                 Influence of Toxins on Plants                             248-259

4/28-4/30         Resistance to Toxicity                                       259-279

5/2                   Phytoremediation                                              279-284


5/5-5/16           Scaling Issues







            Two 5-10 page papers on plant physiological research activities            50% of grade

            Take-home final of 10 questions                                                            50% of grade



Other Texts/Volumes of Interest:

Gutschick, V.P. (1982). A Functional Biology of Crop Plants. Croom Helm Publishing


Mooney, H.A., W.E. Winner, and E.Pell. (1991) Response of Plants to Multiple Stresses Academic Press.


Jones, H.D. (1992). Plants and Microclimate. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.



Ehleringer, J.R., and C.B. Field. (1993) Scaling Physiological Processes: Leaf to Globe. Academic Press.


Larcher, W. (1995) Physiological Plant Ecology: Ecophysiology and stress physiology of functional groups. Springer-Verlag, Berlin


Landsberg, J.J., and S.T.Gower. (1997). Application of Physiological Ecology to Forest Management. Academic Press.


Lambers,H., F.S. Chapin, T.L. Pons. (1998) Physiological Plant Ecology. Springer.  New  York