Ecological Concepts and Plant Sciences

This module provides a broad overview of the biology of our environment.

Programmes

BSc Biological Sciences

Level

Year One

20 Credits

As plants are key to shaping our environment the course fosters an understanding of the biology of higher plants with emphasis on plant physiology structure/function relationships, developmental processes and the exploitation of plants by humans. A set of basic plant physiological processes are considered, with special reference to physiological modifications that have ecological agricultural and economic consequences.

The course also covers plant hormones, life cycles, reproduction and evolution, all of which are key to environmental stability and feeding the planet. There is focus on Arabidopsis, which has become the model species for plant molecular genetic research. However, the course also considers crop plants, including crop domestication and methods for crop improvement.

You will consider definitions and methods to quantify animal and plant biodiversity in its many forms and some key concepts in animal ecology. You will study the relationship between animals and their environment, some of their behavioural and physical adaptations and the methods used to study them. You will then look at the use of modern DNA-based techniques that have defined the field of molecular ecology. Interesting and perplexing biological problems relating to population structures, speciation, biodiversity and conservation can only have been addressed by the use of genetic markers.