General Plant Ecology/ Plant Ecology

BOT 4601 and BOT 5605 - Fall 2012

lecture: M, W, F at 8 am in PC 438

Blackboard Learn

Dr. Suzanne Koptur

OE 232, ph. 305-348-3103

office hrs M & W 10:30 - noon and by appt.

kopturs@fiu.edu

 

Course Description

This course will examine the ecology of plants at different levels: individual, population, and community. Our focus will be on the interactions of plants with each other, with other organisms, and with their environment. A general background in ecology is assumed (Prerequisite: PCB 3043, a general ecology class, or permission of instructor). Basic principles and foundations of the field will be considered as well as current research.

Readings will come from a textbook (see syllabus that follows) and articles from the literature to expand the topics. Lectures will be interspersed with discussion activities to maximize student participation in the learning process. Students will each have opportunities to lead class discussions, and all are expected to be prepared and participate in each discussion. Graduate students may have different responsibilities as appropriate for their background.

There will be two exams during the semester and a final exam. There will also be group projects with papers produced and powerpoint presentations in class. Lecture grades will be determined as follows: each exam 20%, projects 20%, and class participation 20%.

You are expected to be on time to class, and to stay the full period. You are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty, avoiding plagiarism, and turning in or presenting work that is original and citing sources when used. Any student found in violation of these standards will earn an automatic F and be reported to the Deans Office, no exceptions made. In accordance with FIU's policy on academic honesty, as set forth in Section 2.44 of the Academic Affairs Policies and Procedures Manual (http://academic.fiu.edu/docs/aapolicies.htm), it is expected that students in Plant Ecology will not submit the academic work of another as their own. Additional discussion of academic honesty and integrity may be found in the Manual of Student Conduct.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing the lecture course will attain familiarity with the ecology of plants around the world, with special attention to plants of south Florida and tropical environments. Students will be able to understand the many environmental forces that determine the occurrence of species, various forms of the plant body, and the performance and reproductive success of plants in different situations. Our textbook and lectures will highlight recent advances in research as well as historic studies that have laid the foundation of this important field of biological science.

Students pursuing lab activities will gain experience in field and lab research in plant ecology, be able to collect and analyze data, and interpret findings in written and oral presentations. They will succeed in working in teams, monitoring the growth of experimental plants, and measuring the outcome of manipulative experiments in the field. All these skills will prepare them for future work in natural areas management, research, or teaching in science.

Lecture Schedule

required textbook: Gurevitch, J., S.M. Scheiner, and G.A. Fox. 2006. The Ecology of Plants (2nd ed.). Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, Massachusetts.

Most weeks we will have two lecture days and one day for paper discussions. Students should read the chapters in advance and the assigned papers prior to the discussion sessions.

Week/dates

topic

text

Week I - August 20 - M

Introduction

1

22 August - W

Photosynthesis and light

2

24 August - F

Discussion

Wk 2 - 27 Aug - M

Water relations

3

29 Aug - W

Soil and nutrients

4

31 Aug - F

Discussion

Wk 3 - 3 September - M

Labor Day holiday - no class

5 Sep - W

Processes of Evolution

5

7 Sep - F

Discussion

Wk 4 - 10 Sep M

Outcomes of Evolution; Habitats, plant adaptations, life forms

6

12 Sep W

Vegetative reproduction and sexual reproduction

7

14 Sep F

Discussion

Wk 5 - 17 Sep M

Plant life histories

8

19 Sep W

Seeds and seedlings

8

21 Sep F

Discussion

Wk 6 - 24 Sep M

Exam 1

26 Sep W

Community Properties

9

28 Sep F

Discussion

Wk 7 - 1 October M

Competition and other interactions

10

3 Oct W

Herbivory and plant pathogen interactions

11

5 Oct F

Discussion

Wk 8 - 8 Oct M

Disturbance and Succession

12

10 Oct W

Diversity and rarity

13

12 Oct F

Discussion

Wk 9 - 15 October M

Study Day

 

17 Oct W

Exam 2

 

19 Oct F

Ecosystem Processes [Project Assignment]

14

Wk 10 - 22 Oct M

Communities in Landscapes

15

24 Oct W

Landscapes, metapopulations, fragmentation

16

26 Oct F

Discussion [Form project groups by today]

Wk 11 - 29 Oct M - Bahamas mtg Professor away

Library session - resources for project - meet with science librarian in GL 280

31 Oct W

Library session - resources for project - GL 280

2 Nov F

 no class meeting, work on project

Wk 12 - 5 Nov M

Climate and vegetation

17

7 Nov W

Biomes

18

9 Nov F

Discussion

 

Wk 13 - 12 Nov M

Veterans Day - University closed - no class

 

14 Nov W

Project presentations - post in course by today

 

16 Nov F

Project presentations

 

Wk 14 - 19 Nov M

Project presentations

20

21 Nov W

Project presentations - papers due by today (8 am tomorrow)

21

23 Nov F

Thanksgiving holiday, no class meeting

 

Wk 15 - 26 Nov M - last class mtg

Wrap-up day

Wk 16 - 5 Dec W - Final week

Final exam 7:30 - 9:30 am