Contact Info:

ph: 843.953.8077
Office: SCIC 216C
Office Hours: by appt.


Plant Ecology
Cross Listed: Undergrad, Masters of Marine Biology, and Masters of Environmental Studies Course
BIOL 444/628 and EVSS 628 — BIOL Lab 444/628, EVSS LAB 628

PREREQ for Undergrads has been BIO 341 (General Ecology), and also by permission of instructor. If you have taken any of Botany, Evolution, Plant Taxonomy, Plant Physiology, Marine Ecology please consider taking this course.

Taught Fall Semester

Course overview:
Plant ecology is an advanced course for undergraduates and graduate students which will combine lecture, lab and discussion. We will be exploring a range of topics. We will examine theoretical foundations and current controversies in plant ecology, with primary emphasis on terrestrial plant ecology. We will gain an understanding of ecological theory, and familiarize you with some experimental and statistical techniques, and literature. Each week will be a different topic, although you will notice as time passes, that many topics are inter-related, thus we will use the syllabus and our readings of the primary literature as a guide. On most Mondays and Wednesdays I will lecture on the topics drawing from our text, as well as from the primary literature. Most Fridays will be discussion classes. For each discussion class, I will choose a classic and a very recent paper on the topic (although some topics will have only recent papers as the field advances so quickly). Each student will be asked to lead discussions during the semester (either alone or in pairs). The goals of this semester are for you to gain an understanding of the main aspects of how plant ecologists do their work, develop critical thinking, analysis, and writing skills as they apply to plant ecology, and build upon the theoretical framework of general ecology as it pertains to plants.

For graduate credit, students will be required to write a research paper derived from the primary literature in plant ecology. Undergraduates will be required to write a shorter review paper. Prerequisites for the course are Biol. 341 (General Ecology) or by permission of the instructor.

Texts: The Ecology of Plants Second Edition  by Gurevitch, Scheiner, and Fox. Sinauer Assoc. Inc, Publishers. Sunderland, MA. (Note: the second edition is required)

Lab: In the laboratory portion of the course we do a mixture of field observational experiments at several locations on plant-pollinator interactions, patterns of selection on plants with and without herbivory, and a semester long greenhouse experiment on plasticity.