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The part of biology that deals with plants and, by tradition, with the fungi and photosynthetic microorganisms, is called botany. We, and all other animals, are dependent on green plants and algae as the main source of our food and our oxygen. Knowledge of plant biology is essential not only for several professions, but also for solving some of society's most pressing problems: feeding our increasing populations and maintaining the earth's fragile ecosystems. Plant biology is an increasingly active research area, and the past decade has already brought major advances in understanding how plants function. Many new possibilities have been developed for the better use of plants by people, including the engineering of improved crops, weed control, plant breeding and the industrial production of plant-derived biochemicals such as anticancer drugs.
The areas of specialization within botany that address problems of importance to humans most directly include: Plant Biotechnology which uses molecular biology to exploit the genetic and biochemical potential of plants; Plant Pathology which is the study of plant diseases. Problems relating to the chemistry, physics and control of cellular processes are considered in the fields of Biochemistry, Development and Molecular Biology. The unique aspects of whole organisms are addressed also in Plant Development (multicellular plants) and in Mycology (fungi) and Phycology (algae). Ecology deals with the interaction of plants with their environment, while Evolutionary and Systematic Botany analyzes both the processes and products of evolution.
Many botany specialists find careers in government research laboratories, hospitals, museums, environmental consulting companies, agricultural product firms and, increasingly, with biotechnology research institutes and private companies. Others teach at either the secondary school or university level. Specialization in Botany or Biology at the undergraduate level is sufficient for some kinds of employment, while others require an advanced degree (M.Sc. or Ph.D.).
A student who wishes to specialize in Botany should seek advice from the Botany Undergraduate Office. Generally, a foundation in chemistry, mathematics and (usually) physics is advisable for the study of plant biology. It is also required that students take introductory courses dealing with three aspects of biology: 1) molecular/cellular (BIO 250Y), 2) organismal (BIO 251Y), and 3) ecological/evolutionary (BIO 150Y) before specializing further in a plant biology subdiscipline. The Department of Botany Undergraduate Office gives further information about courses and programs.
Associate Chair (Undergraduate): Professor J.R. Coleman, Room 4062, Earth Sciences Centre (978-2339)
Undergraduate Secretary: Earth Sciences Centre, Room 3055A (978-7172)
Specialist program (Hon.B.Sc.): S23591 (12 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y and CHM 137Y/151Y; no minimum GPA is required.
First and Second Years: Group A, and two from Group B
Major program Major program: M23591 (8 full courses or their equivalent)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y and CHM 137Y/151Y and one 100-series course from CSC 108H, 148H/260H; MAT 135Y/137Y/JMB 170Y; PHY 110Y/138Y/140Y; no minimum GPA is required.
Minor program Minor program: R23591 (4 full courses or their equivalent)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y; no minimum GPA is required.
MOLECULAR PLANT BIOLOGY (Hon. B.Sc.)Specialist program: S24161 (12.5 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y, CHM 137Y/151Y and MAT 135Y/137Y/JMB 170Y; no minimum GPA is required.
PLANT PATHOLOGY (Hon. B.Sc.)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y and CHM 137Y/151Y; no minimum GPA is required. Specialist program: S10971 (11.5 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
First and Second Years: Group A and two from Group B
NOTE: No Plant Pathology Major program exists, therefore a student may qualify for a Botany major after third year.
PLANT PHYSIOLOGY & METABOLISM (Hon. B.Sc.)Specialist program: S15431 (10 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y and CHM 137Y/151Y; no minimum GPA is required.
PLANT POPULATION BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION (Hon. B.Sc.)Specialist program: S16361 (12 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y; no minimum GPA required.
First & Second Years: BIO 150Y; 2 courses from Groups A and B (excluding STA 220H, 221H, JBS 229H)
NOTE: one other science course may be accepted with Departmental approval
NOTE: No Plant Population Biology and Evolution Major program exists, therefore a student may qualify for a Botany major after third year Group A: BIO 150Y and CHM 132H, 133H/137Y/151Y Group B: CHM 240Y/241Y; CSC 108H, 148H/260H; MAT 135Y/137Y/JMB 170Y; PHY 110Y/138Y/140Y; two of STA 220H, 221H, JBS 229H
Group C: BIO 250Y; BOT 251Y; ENV 234Y
Group D: BIO 301H, 302H, 303H, 306H, 307H; BIO 351Y; BOT 460Y, 462Y/463H; JGB 310H; MGB 460H
BIOGEOGRAPHY (Hon. B.Sc.)Consult the Undergraduate Secretary, Department of Botany, or the Student Counsellor, Department of Geography.
NOTE: Students taking the Program must enrol annually at the Botany Undergraduate Office, Room 3055A, Earth Science Centre.
Enrolment in this program requires completion of four courses, including BIO 150Y; GGR 100Y/JGF 150Y; CHM 137Y/151Y. At least one of MAT 135Y/137Y/JMB 170Y; PHY 110Y/138Y/140Y; no minimum GPA is required.
Specialist program: S16921 (13 full courses or their equivalent, including at least one 400-series course)
NOTE: Courses in all three of CHM, MAT, PHY will prove highly useful in many aspects of biogeography and may be prerequisites for some options in later years.
Third and Fourth Year options: BIO 301H, 302H, 303H, 306H, 307H, 320Y, 368H/369Y; BOT 300H, 307H, 360H, 430H, 434H, 460Y, 461H, 462Y/463H; GGR 201H, 203H, 205H, 206H, 302H, 307H, 312H, 390H, 391H, 393H, 402H, 409H, 490H, 491Y/498H; JGG 350H; JGB 310H, 404H; ZOO 304H, 324Y, 361H, 367H, 373H, 375H, 477Y, 498Y, 499Y
NOTE: Where a student's research interest warrants it, with permission of the Undergraduate Secretary of Botany, the student may fulfil the Third/Fourth Year course requirements by substituting one or two courses not listed in the options.Section 4 for Key to Course Descriptions)
For Distribution Requirement purposes, all BIO and BOT courses, ENV 234Y, and JMB 170Y are classified as SCIENCE courses.
Undergraduate seminar that focuses on specific ideas, questions, phenomena or controversies, taught by a regular Faculty member deeply engaged in the discipline. Open only to newly admitted first year students. It may serve as a breadth requirement course; see First Year Seminars: 199Y.
Applications of mathematics to biological problems in physiology, biomechanics, genetics, evolution, growth, population dynamics, cell biology, ecology and behaviour.
The continuing impact of new scientific technologies on society through changes in agriculture, industry and the economy. Plant domestication, genetic resource conservation, environmental pollution, global warming, genetic engineering and biotechnology. Evaluation of the social implications of advances in modern plant science.
This course is intended primarily for Humanities and Social Science students
Structure and physiology of plants, fungi and bacteria. Emphasizes the similarities and differences among organisms in their response to their environment. Observational and experimental laboratories focus on the relationships between structure and physiology.
Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project. See Research Opportunity Program for details.
The theoretical foundations of taxonomy and the types of evidence used in constructing plant classifications. Practicals emphasize taxonomic characters and their uses. Includes an independent taxonomic project.
Taxonomy, ecology, physiology, genetics, and importance to man. Techniques of isolation, identification, and manipulation.
Variation in morphology, predominant breeding systems, dispersal syndromes, and other features between families of vascular plants in the Ontario flora are examined. Students learn key characteristics for identification of important families of ferns, fern allies, conifers and flowering plants. (Offered in alternate years)
Evolutionary and structural relationships of organisms in the Kingdom Plantae are emphasized with attention placed on interpretation of comparative vegetative and reproductive morphology, structure and function. Lecture and laboratory topics include: 1) evolution of the land plant life cycle, the ovule/seed, and angiosperms; and 2) shoot architecture, heterophylly and anisophylly.
The process of photosynthesis: chloroplast structure and development of light-harvesting systems, comparison of photosynthetic carbon fixation pathways, photorespiration, lipid and protein metabolism, structure and organization of the plant genome.
Transport of substances across plant and animal cell membranes. Elementary concepts of biophysics and bioenergetics combined to give a common framework for understanding the physiology of membrane transport in plants and animals. The course includes tutorials and lab demonstrations.
An advanced treatment of the physiological mechanisms controlling plant distribution and ecological success. Topics of focus include photosynthesis and carbon balance in natural environments, water and nutrient relations, plant-herbivore interactions, and adaptations to abiotic stress.
Developmental processes in plants at the molecular, cellular and organ level. Pattern formation during embryogenesis, cell interactions, leaf development, flowering, molecular basis of hormone action, with an emphasis on current research using developmental mutants.
The microscopic structure of plants with emphasis on the characteristics of cells and tissues, how they are formed from plant meristems and how they function in transport, photosynthesis, transpiration, absorption, and reproduction.
Basic and applied aspects of diseases of plants with emphasis on understanding the biology of the plant-pathogen interaction as a means of developing disease management strategies with minimum environmental impact. Lab practical provides training in basic techniques of "agricultural" microbiology and plant/pathogen interactions.
Introduction to the display and analysis of multivariate data from museum, field, and controlled environment studies in botany and forestry. Emphasis on the use of microcomputers to solve applied and multivariate problems.
The biology of microscopic, non-parasitic fungi. The physiological and structural characteristics of moulds that allow them to locate, occupy and consume nutrient substrates in the face of environmental stresses and competition from other organisms. Techniques for assessing mould activities in natural and human environments. (Offered in alternate years)
Biology of the fungal parasites of plants, other fungi, invertebrates and vertebrates (other than humans), and those involved in mutualisms such as mycorrhizae, lichens and foliar endophytism. Stress is laid on the physiological and structural features that characterize parasitic and mutualistic fungi and distinguish them from saprotrophs such as moulds and yeasts. (Offered in alternate years)
Advanced plant metabolism in relation to cell structure and function; recent developments in carbohydrate, lipid, and nitrogen metabolism, emphasizing control mechanisms; primary and secondary metabolism in relation to plant growth and development and environmental stress.
The origin and development of the vegetation of North America; techniques of pollen and macrofossil analysis of Quaternary deposits. There are one 2-day and three 1-day field trips.
Ecosystem response to management activity, anthropogenic disturbance and chronic stress. Three sections comprise the course: i) (pre) history up to industrialization, ii) consequences of industrial activity, iii) the post-industrial environment.
Recombinant DNA and RNA in viruses. Biotechnology and plant transformation. Lectures on current developments, individual research projects using plant viruses, participation in seminars.
Structural, genetical, physiological, molecular and biochemical aspects of the interactions between higher plants and parasitic or mutualistic bacteria and fungi; conceptual and mechanistic aspects of specificity and recognition. (Offered in alternate years)
A research project, requiring the prior consent of a member of the Department to supervise the project. The topic is to be agreed on by the student and supervisor before enrolment in the course; they must also arrange the time, place, and provision of any materials. Written and oral reports are required. Normally open only to fourth-year students with adequate background in Botany.
Selected research/lecture topics in plant sciences offered to advanced students.
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