An integrated study of cells, whole organisms and the interactions between organisms and their environments. The physiological and anatomical solutions to the physical and chemical challenges faced by plants and animals. Mechanisms by which a single cell develops into a complex, multicellular organism in which groups of cells perform specialized tasks. Lecture topics integrated with a laboratory that emphasizes independent research projects. Prerequisite: BIO 110. Offered every Fall.
Bio 370: Environmental Physiology of Plants
This upper-level elective course is focused on the interconnectedness of plants and their environments. The form and function of plants is greatly affected by environmental factors such as water, nutrients and light availability; at the same time though, plants exert a major influence on ecosystem processes such as water and nutrient cycling. Lecture topics include the following: physiological adaptation, resource acquisition and allocation, functional trade-offs, photosynthesis, carbon and energy balance, water use and water relations, stable isotope applications in physiology, stress physiology, the effects of land use and climate change on plant form and function, evolution of physiological performance and linkages between physiology of the individual and processes at the population and ecosystem level. In the laboratory, students have the opportunity to learn advanced techniques in environmental physiology and in the second half of the semester, they design and carry out directed research projects.
Bio 371: Applied Research in Ecophysiology
In this course, students explore the interconnectedness of plant communities and their environments and then put that knowledge to work by participating in an applied and local research project. Lectures explore major topics in plant physiology including resource acquisition and allocation, carbon and energy balance and water use and water relations. These processes are examined in the context of a local research program focused on the ability of trees to mitigate urban storm water run-off (see explanation and photos on the research page). Students learn the theory behind the measurement of ecosystem water balance and then in the lab they build sensors to measure important components of ecosystem water balance including transpiration and canopy interception.
NSP 170 (CBL): Nature in the Urban Environment
In this course students observe, appreciate and begin to understand how elements of nature function within urban landscapes. We study ecological and ecosystem processes in local forested areas and learn strategies employed by urban planners to maximize or manage these processes in cities. Specifically we focus on initiatives in the City of Lancaster to mitigate storm water run-off and the heat island effect. This course includes numerous field trips to local reserves and locations throughout Lancaster and we directly participate in sustainability initiatives underway in the city.
Below are a few photos taken on field trips that were a part of the non-majors course: NSP (CBL) 170 Nature in the Urban Environment