701-0323-00L Plant Ecology
|Semester||Autumn Semester 2016|
|Lecturers||S. Güsewell, J. Levine|
|Periodicity||yearly recurring course|
|Language of instruction||English|
|Abstract||This class focuses on ecological processes involved with plant life, mechanisms of plant adaptation, plant-animal and plant-soil interactions, plant strategies and implications for the structure and function of plant communities. The discussion of original research examples familiarises students with research questions and methods; they learn to evaluate results and interpretations.|
|Objective||Students will be able to:|
- propose methods to study ecological processes involved with plant life, and how these processes depend on internal and external factors;
- analyse benefits and costs of plant adaptations;
- explain plant strategies with relevant traits and trade-offs;
- explain and predict the assembly of plant communities;
- explain implications of plant strategies for animals, microbes and ecosystem functions;
- evaluate studies in plant ecology regarding research questions, assumptions, methods, as well as the reliability and relevance of results.
|Content||Plants represent the matrix of natural communities. The structure and dynamics of plant populations drives the function of ecosystems. This course presents essential processes and plant traits involved with plant life. We focus on research questions that have been of special interest to plant ecologists as well as current topical questions. We use original research examples to discuss how ecological questions are studied and how results are interpreted.|
- Growth: what determines the production of a plant?
- Nutrients: consumption or recycling: opposite strategies and feedbacks on soils;
- Clonality: collaboration and division of labour in plants;
- Plasticity: benefits and costs of plant intelligence;
- Flowering and pollination: how expensive is sex?
- Seed types, dispersal, seed banks and germination: strategies and trade-offs in the persistence of plant populations;
- Development and structure of plant populations;
- Stress, disturbance and competition as drivers of different plant strategies;
- Herbivory: plant-animal feedbacks and functioning of grazing ecosystems
- Fire: impacts on plants, vegetation and ecosystems.
- Plant functional types and rules in the assembly of plant communities.
|Lecture notes||Handouts and further reading will be available electronically at the beginning of the semester.|
|Prerequisites / Notice||Prerequisites|
- General knowledge of plant biology
- Basic knowledge of plant sytematics
- General ecological concepts