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Integrative Biology 542

Environmental Plant Physiology

When: Fall Semester 2012; Tuesday and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:20 AM.
Where: Room 607 Institute for Genomic Biology (Near Array Cafe)
Instructor: Carl Bernacchi (
Office Location: 193 ERML (Edward R. Madigan Laboratory)
Class Moodle Page


This course is designed for students to understand the components of the environment that are directly relevant to plant growth, physiology, and function. The course will introduce the physical principles of the environment in which plants grow (both soil and atmosphere) and the exchange of matter, radiation and heat between plants and their environment. Similarly the principles underlying plant water relations will be presented.


Each class will follow the format: One hour of class lecture on a specific topic followed, on some days, by an in-class lab activity or in-class assignment. The grade breakdown for the course is as follows:


  • Exams, equaling a total of 75% of the final grade
  • Homework assignments, worth a total of 15% of the final grade
  • In-class report, worth 10% of the final grade.



Attend and participate in all classes. Review notes from each class, so that the concepts and information may be used in subsequent discussions. Read papers for discussions, when provided or requested. Prepare one presentation to the class.


Course text:

Individual journal articles and book chapters will be recommended for each class.


Non-required texts (but useful):

Nobel PS (2009) Physicochemical & Environmental Plant Physiology. 4th Edn. Academic Press, San Diego. 600 pp.

Campbell GS and Norman JM (1998) An Introduction to Environmental Biophysics, 2nd Edn. Springer, New York. 286 pp.


Recommended reading:

Lambers H, Chapin, FS, Pons, TL (1998) Plant Physiological Ecology. Springer, New York. 540 pp. (UIUC Biology Stacks; Call Number: 571.2 L171p)

Monteith JL, Unsworth MH (1990) Principles of Environmental Physics. 2nd Edn., Edward Arnold, London. 291 pp. (UIUC ACES Stacks Call Number: 574.54 M76P1990)