Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh
Laboratory experiments on the growth, nutrition, and metabolism of plants. Prerequisite: BOTANY 371, which may be taken concurrently. Offered: Sp.
Students will learn experimental technique and methods in plant physiology. Simple experiments are designed to utilize greenhouse, growth chamber, special lighting conditions, and a variety of plant species. Basic understanding of ph and buffers, and use of a pH meter are essential and taught first. Subsequent labs involve plant tissue culture, photosynthesis (measured by colorimetry), growth physiology and hormonal regulation, water relations, and photobiology.
Students are asked to design their own experiments and learn some skills in developing appropriate controls, analyzing data, and presenting results.
Teaching Assistants run the labs, and begin each session with a brief overall description of the purpose of the lab activity, and the methods used. Students work in groups. The professor "roams" the lab and helps wherever possible.
Prior to the course, basic chemistry and biology are required. Prerequisite to enroll is Botany 371.
During the course, it is essential to read the laboratory manual prior to attending lab. It is often useful to read about the processes being addressed in a physiology text book, prior to coming to lab.
Class Assignments and Grading
Students are expected to attend all labs, and to participate fully in each exercise. Each student is required to maintain a lab notebook (neatness is not required). Students will be asked to turn in a lab report of variable length for each lab exercise. Most reports will be short (e.g. 4 reports of 2 pages, including a graph, a table, and a paragraph of concluding remarks). Two reports will be long (5-8 pages). Students may be asked to present results of one of their own experimental designs orally to the class.
Each lab assignment will be worth points (usually the short ones are worth 15 points, and the long ones 30). An oral presentation will also be worth some points (perhaps 20). Each student will also receive a number of points on attitude, participation, attendance, and contribution to the group. The median class grade will be set at some point (usually 3.2-3.4) and grades interpolated from accumulated points. Failure will be the result of inadequate attendance, or accumulation of fewer that 60% of the total points.