Tentative Lecture and Lab Schedule1


Lecture Topic



Unit I:  Sex

Sept 9

The apical meristem is connected to the .. shin bone? OR  Umm...I don't think this is genetics.  A brief refresher in botany, natural selection, ecology, and an introduction to plant ecology.

1-12; 143-147; 87-90


Sept 14

How to have sex:  A botanical primer (Caution:  this lecture will contain graphic images).  Mating systems, the cost of being male, and incest.


Lab Exercise I:  Impacts of habitat on non-vascular plant distributions in the river valley

Sept 16

Playing (in) the field.  Costs and benefits of different ways of moving your pollen.


Sept 21

Blowin' in the wind and Tangled up in blue (fur).  Mechanisms and consequences of seed dispersal.


Lab Exercise II:  Effects of inbreeding on fitness.  Initial pollination.

Lab Exercise III:  Herbivory.  Group formation, discussion, and pitching ideas.

Sept 24

Please keep your genes to yourself.  Impacts of gene flow and local selection on plant evolution.



Sept 28

Greens VS Monsanto.  A discussion of the ecological risks of genetically modified plants.  The information that doesn't make the front pages.


Tutorial:  Experimental design and analysis.  Read text pages 465-468.

Lab Exercise III:  Continue herbivory planning.

Unit II:  Function

Sept 30

I grow, therefore I am.  Phenotypic plasticity and the nature of plant behaviour.

90-100; 106-108


Oct 5

Feed me.  Limiting resources and plant foraging strategies

15-23; 35-40

Lab Exercise IV:  Set up competition experiment.

Tutorial:  Ordination methods in plant community ecology (Read text pages 319-332)

Research Proposals due

Oct 7

Playing dirty.  Mechanisms of competition for soil resources

188-191; 197-199

Oct 12

I see the light.  Mechanisms of competition for light, and the concept of competitive size-asymmetry

186-188; 192-197

Lab Exercise II:  Inbreeding: Seed collection and plant measures

Lab Exercise III: Herbivory experiment final adjustments and improvements.

Oct 14

The big mess.  What we (don't) know about relationships between resource, competition, and diversity.


Oct 19

Gassy plants.  Ecological costs and benefits of different methods of getting CO2.


Lab Exercise III:  Set up herbivory experiment

Lab Exercise IV:  Competition measures

Ordination Paper Due

Oct 21

The sum of the parts.  Plant life history strategies and functional groups


Oct 26



Lab Exercise III:  Set up herbivory experiment cont’d.

Unit III: Enemies

Oct 28

You like-a the juice?  Why plants are bad food

213-218; 223-227


Nov 2

An evolutionary arms race.  Co-evolution, host race specificity, and plant-insect feedbacks


Lab Exercise II:  Inbreeding:  Final data collection

Lab Exercise IV:  Competition experiment measures.

Nov 4

The truth is out there!  Talking trees, induced defenses, and plant-insect communication


Nov 9

A fungus among us.  Mutualisms vs pathogens vs herbivore defense.  Some ecological consequences of fungal infection.

74-84; 231-234

Lab Exercise III: Herbivory upkeep.


Nov 11

Fall Break - NO CLASS



Nov 16

Interactions.  Non-additive interactions between competition, herbivory, and fungal infection


Unit IV: Change

Nov 18

Are communities real?  Defining and describing assemblages of species



Nov 23

We don't all bounce back.  Disturbances and multiple stable states

253-256; 273

Lab Exercise IV:  Competition final measures

Inbreeding report due

Nov 25

Out damn spot(ted knapweed)!   Invasive species and how plant communities may (or may not) keep them out.

275-277; 281-284

Nov 30

CO2 as a limiting resource.  Increased carbon dioxide concentrations and plant growth


Statistics and presentation workshop.


Dec 2

A global hot flash,  Impacts of increased temperature on resource availability and plant-microbial interactions


Dec 7

Carbon and climate change II.  What do plants do to the atmosphere?








1 Lecture and lab topics will change throughout the term.  In case of a discrepancy between what is listed here an what I say in class - the information given in class will be viewed as correct.

2All page numbers refer to:  Gurevitch, Scheiner, and Fox.  2002.  The Ecology of Plants.  Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.  The text is available for purchase at the UA Bookstore.  Additional readings from the primary literature will be assigned throughout the term.