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Cursus: NWI-BB018C
Ecophysiology of Plants
Cursus informatieRooster
Studiepunten (ECTS)6
Categorie03 (Verdiepend)
Aangeboden doorRadboud Universiteit; Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica; BioWetenschappen;
dr. E.J.W. Visser
Overige cursussen docent
dr. E.J.W. Visser
Overige cursussen docent
Contactpersoon van de cursus
dr. E.J.W. Visser
Overige cursussen docent
dr. E.J.W. Visser
Overige cursussen docent
KW3  (29-01-2024 t/m 07-04-2024)
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersJa
In this course, you will learn how plants interact with their abiotic and biotic environment. Key are the traits that determine the survival and reproduction of plants. Environmental conditions typically vary in time and space, and plants must respond to these changes to be successful, both at the level of the individual and (ultimately) at the level of the population. Moreover, the less variable but extreme conditions in some habitats may also challenge plant performance. The ways that plants acclimate and adapt to these environmental conditions will be the main focus of this course. You will learn the results of acclimation and adaptation of plants in the short and the long term, but also you will gain insight into the mechanisms that trigger these adaptations, including their regulatory pathways.

The course will be taught based on lectures that will support you in studying the theory. This part will be concluded with an written exam.

The practical part of this course will teach you to define research questions and hypotheses, to write up an experimental protocol, and to perform experiments to test your hypotheses. The time planning for this experimentation period will largely be the responsibility of you and your team. This part will finish with an oral presentation that shows your capacity to integrate theory and experimental results.
After successfully completing this course, you will have acquired the following skills:
1. you will be able to identify under which environmental conditions abiotic resources, such as carbon, light, water, nutrients and space, may become limiting for plants, and how these limitations come about 
2. you will be able to quantitatively describe and analyse plant growth, and based on this analysis deduct how changes in allocation patterns lead to optimum growth
3. you will be able to predict how adaptation and acclimation of the (morphological, anatomical and metabolical) phenotype of plants in response to abiotic and biotic stress optimizes performance
4. you will be able to explain which variation in resource availability may be expected, and how plants occupy their own niche to compete for these resources
Moreover, you will be able to:
5. design experiments that test hypotheses within the above mentioned theory
6. perform experiments in a team that subjects plants to treatments, and carefully monitors the response of these plants with previously trained measuring methods
7. select a suitable statistical test and apply this to the acquired data set
8. present your data orally in a concise way and discuss them in a theoretical context
This course addresses the ecophysiology of plants. The following topics will be discussed:
  • acquisition of resources (how plants intercept their natural resources - nutrients, water, light, space etc.)
  • growth and allocation (which factors determine growth, and what is causing differences in biomass and energy allocation to the various organs and processes)
  • stress factors and responses (how plants acclimate to changes in their environment and to sub-optimal conditions)
  • heterogeneity and diversity (how easy is it to apply the concepts learned in the previous lectures to "the real world", where plants interact in vegetation structures and where only rarely one environmental factor is limiting growth
Moreover, the lab course part will allow you to design an experiment with a group of colleagues, prepare and perform this experiment, and analyse and present the data. 

Instructional Modes
  • lectures
  • lab class
  • Self-study

Level 3
  • Evolution and Development of Plants
  • Plant Physiology
Please contact the course coordinator if you have not completed these or very similar courses.
  • digital open questions exam, contributes for 60% to the final grade, minimum grade 5.5
  • lab class, contributes for 40% to the final grade, minimum grade 5.5; please mind that the lab class has no resit in the same year.
This course will be taught for two days a week. Attending the days scheduled for the lab class and instruction lectures is mandatory. These will occupy a large part of the last two-third of the course, and typically are full, eight-hour workdays!


All lectures are given in the first two weeks of the course.

Sustainability certificate

ToetsvormDigitale toets met CIRRUS
GelegenhedenBlok KW3, Blok KW4

GelegenhedenBlok KW3, Blok KW4

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