APS 216 Plant, Cell and Environment

Level 2
Semester 2A
Credits 10
Pre/Co Requisites -
Recommended Requisites APS 119 Comparative Physiology or APS137 Plant Physiology, Reproduction and Growth
Teaching Staff Professor Richard Leegood, Dr Stephen Rolfe
Co-ordinator Dr Stephen Rolfe


This course will:
Provide an understanding of how plant growth and development responds to environmental signals.
Provide an overview of plant adaptations and survival strategies in a diverse range of ecological environments.


Plants differ from many other organisms in that their growth and development is highly tuned to the environment. This course examines how plants respond to environmental factors (focussing on light and water) integrating developmental, biochemical and physiological studies.

A signal, such as light, can act as an indicator of many environmental factors ranging from the time of the year to the presence of neighbouring vegetation. The different photoreceptors which a plant contains, their mode of action and their impact on plant development will be considered. As well as regulating development, light also acts as the primary source of energy for the plant via photosynthesis. The regulation of photosynthetic metabolism will be examined in plants which utilise C3 and C4 photosynthesis and Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) and, in each case, related to the environment in which different plant species grow, with particular emphasis placed upon temperature and water-use efficiency. Photoprotective mechanisms which operate at high irradiances will also be examined, as will plant responses to water stress.

The adaptations of plants to their environment will be illustrated using a number of examples including native UK species, epiphytes, cacti and polar species. The course will integrate ecological, physiological, biochemical and molecular studies considering both existing climatic conditions and those which may result from global climate change.

DELIVERY METHOD: 18 lectures


ASSESSMENT METHOD: 1½ hour examination. Essay type questions (2 from a choice of 5)

FEEDBACK: Students can receive feedback by completing a series of feedback questions that test understanding of concepts developed during the module. Students can obtain feedback on their examination performance by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor.

Please go to MOLE for more information on APS 216

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