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Plant ecophysiology

Class at Faculty of Science |


The course is composed of: 1) theoretical background given in 11 lectures weekly during a semester and 2) practical training, which is scheduled for altogether 11 hours in the semester and will be conducted in 2 weeks at once after semester, approximately in May or beginning of June.Lectures are going to be the same for both courses MB130P09 a MB130P22E. Course MB130P22E does not contain practical training in contrast to this course.  

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND GIVEN IN LECTURES DURING SEMESTER  1        Plants and their physiologogical functioning, ecosystems and biomes    Jana Albrechtová  

-          Plants: phylogeny - land transition, autotrophy, body organization,

-          Ecological limits of the environment: abiotic and biotic factors

-          Plant response to environmental factors - acclimation and adaptation, tolerance and avoidance, stress responses

-          Basic physiological functions of plants in ecosystems: Photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration

-          Food chain: position of plants – primary producers

-          Global distribution of radiation and precipitation, altitude gradient

-          Ecosystem - definitions, flows of information and energy

-          Biosphere

-          Basic climate zones of the Earth

-          Biomes, overview of terrestrial biomes of the Earth

-          Anthromes

-          Life forms of plants and their spectrum in biomes

-          21st century challenges to the physiological functions of plants in ecosystems: population feeding,

-          Ecosystem services,

-          Climate change. 2              Plants and carbon metabolism: photosynthesis and primary production               Zuzana Lhotáková

 -          Photosynthesis: light and dark phases (reminiding basic principles)

-          Different metabolic types of photosynthesis - C3, C4 and CAM types of photosynthesis, Geographical distribution of C3 and C4 plants

-          Factors influencing photosynthesis

-          Photosynthetic adaptations in different biomes – examples, case studies

-          Energy balance on level of leaf, stand, gradients in irradiance, sun and shade acclimation of leaves in anatomy nad physiology

-          Net and gross primary photosynthetic production, net ecosystem exchange

-          Factors affecting primary production 3         Plants and water: water properties, water realtions at plant and ecosystem levels          Zuzana Lhotáková

Plant physiology – water relations

-          Water – major factor in plant distribution

-          Physical and chemical properties of water important for life and plants

-          Adaptation of plants during the transition to land

-          Water potential: soil-plant-atmosphere continuum

Plant functions in ecosystems – case studies

-          Methodological window – how to measure water potential

-          Plants – water and energy in the landscape (transpiration cooling)

-          Plants in the water cycle – an example of the Amazon 4           Plants and soil: soil properties, plant mineral nutrition   Petr Kohout

-          Definition and function of the pedosphere and soil

-          Physical and chemical properties of soil

-          Soil types and soil horizons

-          Pedogenesis: soil formation and development

-          Significance and evolution of the root

-          Soil microbes (bacteria, fungi, yeast) and fauna 5              Plant functional traits and their importance for ecosystems, biotic interactions of plants              Petr Kohout

-          Trait ecology of plants

-          Plant growth strategies: CRS, R* rule

-          Functional properties of plants: above ground vs. underground

-          Relation of plants to biotic components of the ecosystem o   Symbiosis with other organisms: types of plant symbiosis o   Relationships between plants: intra- and interspecific competitions o   Plant-soil feedback o   The relationship of plants to other biotic components of the ecosystem 6              Plants and root symbioses: mycorrhiza, N-fixing procaryota        Petr Kohout

-          Nitrogen fixing bacteria

-          Mycorrhizal symbiosis o   arbuscular mycorrhiza o   ectomycorrhiza o   ecology of mycorrhizal symbioses 7              Plants in different ecosystems and their monitoring using plant traits: effect of extreme temperatures, salinity, hypoxy, heavy metals, phytoremediation           Lena Hunt

-          Mechanisms of stress reactions - reminder from lecture 1: phases and mechanisms of stress response, osmotic and oxidative stress

-          Plant functional traits aimed on biophysical and biochemical indicators of physiological status on leaf level

-          Extreme temperatures

-          Physiology of drought and salinity resistant plants (succulents, accelerated development of some species, etc.)

-          Heavy metals and plants, phytoremediation 8              Plants in acquatic ecosystems   Jana Albrechtová

-          Specifics of the aquatic environment and carbonate balance

-          Functionally ecological division of aquatic and wetland plants; an overview of Central European submerged aquatic plant genera and their taxonomic and ecological characteristics

-          Overview of the most important adaptations for individual groups of aquatic and wetland plants

-          Specifics of the anatomy of submerged aquatic plants

-          Ecophysiology of mineral nutrition of submerged aquatic plants

-          Photosynthetic characteristics / peculiarities and adaptations of submerged aquatic plants 9              Plants in biogeochemical cycles: P,N cycles, greenhouse gases, air pollution       Jana Albrechtová

-          Biogeochemical cycles:

-          Global cycle N, P - the role and importance of plants in them

-          Global carbon cycle

-          Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the history of the Earth, role as a greenhouse gas

-          Methane and its role as greenhouse gas

-          Importance of terrestrial and aquatic (ocean) plants in the carbon cycle

-          Anthropogenic influence of cycle C

-          Plants in increasing CO2 concentration

-          Air pollution: definition, causes,

-          Forest decline, dieback and its study, monitoring physiological state of trees

-          Study of the physiological state of plants under climate change: eddy covariance, FACE, increased CO2. 10           Plants under climate change, feedbacks               Jana Albrechtová

-          Climate change, causes, greenhouse gases, IPCC

-          Plants as a climatic agent - vegetation as a stabilizing element - temperature, humidity

-          The role of forest biomes in climate formation

-          Consequences of ongoing climate change on plants:

-          effects of CO2, temperature changes, extent and frequency of precipitation, ocean pH

-          the impact of climate on forests on a global scale - pests, fires, changes in vegetation zones

-          Forests - a source or sink for storing carbon in climate change.

-          Feedbacks: about James Lovelock's model of the "world of daisies"

-          Feedback in the global system of the Earth   11           Plants and remote sensing for vegetation monitoring   Jana Albrechtová

-          Optical properties: reflectance, transmittance, absorption

-          Vegetation spectral curve

-          Multispectral and hyperspectral methods

-          Vegetation monitoring by remote sensing methods: vegetation indices

-          Examples: vegetation mapping, NPP, phenology



Task 1: Vitality of the Spruce (Picea abies) 1a) Determination of vitality based on criteria of bud developmental directions 1b) Estimate chlorop



The course aims to enable students to understand the fundamental roles of plants in the context of the functioning of different ecosystems, biomes and the entire planet Earth. The course will give students an idea of the interaction of plants with their environment - abiotic and biotic factors, how plants respond to environmental factors and stress conditions, how the physiological functions of plants in ecosystems determine ecosystem functioning and what are the roles of plants in global processes, biogeochemical cycles, climate formation. In addition to physiological functions, different adaptations of plants to different environments will be discussed, whether adaptive, evolutionary, or acclimative within the plasticity of plant responses to environmental factors. Due to the interconnectedness of climate and vegetation, the interpretation will focus not only on the effects of climate on plants, but also on the impact of local, regional and global climate by plants. The lecture will also address the ongoing climate change and its impact on plants and how plants affect the planet's climate. Attention will also be paid to the interaction of plants with other organisms in ecosystems - plants, soil microorganisms. Attention will also be paid to plant monitoring using functional traits. Plant monitoring will be demonstrated primarily on functional features of plants, biochemical and biophysical indicators of physiological status and using spectral methods, especially reflectance.

The course is composed of: 1) theoretical background given in 11 lectures weekly during a semester and 2) practical training, which is scheduled for altogether 11 hours in the semester and will be conducted in 2 weeks at once after semester, approximately in May or beginning of June.

Lectures are going to be the same for both courses MB130P09 a MB130P22E. Course MB130P22E does not contain practical training in contrast to this course.

Practical training in plant ecophysiology will give students the basics for plant physiological status based on laboratory research and field sampling. During the practical exercises, students will learn how to properly sampled plant material for field studies, learn to use a variety of methods and instruments to determine the physiological state of plants, measure experimental values on self-collected material, and finally prepare a presentation with the conclusions of their analyses.

Practical exercises will take place in the Botanical Garden of the Faculty of Science of Charles University, in Prague and laboratory measurements in the laboratory of the Ecophysiology of Plants team of prof. Albrechtová. (Department of Experimental Plant Biology, Viničná 5, door 207).

Selected methods for monitoring the physiological status and vitality of urban trees. Material: conifer - spruce (any species in the botanical garden or its surroundings) and deciduous tree lime etc.

Skills that students will learn: 1. Principles of correct and successful field collection of foliage, 2. Determination of structural parameters related to leaf dry weight: Fresh weight (FW), leaf area (A), dry weight (DW), Leaf mass per area (LMA), Specific leaf area (SLA), Leaf dry matter content (LDMC), Water content (LWC), amount of water per unit area (EWT). Alternatively, determination of the relative water content (RWC). 3. Determination of water potential: Using Scholander pressure chamber, the water potential of the plant will be determined; indicate the water management by the plant. 4. Observation of tree vitality based on bud development criteria. 5. Detection of pigment content (chlorophyll and anthocyanins) using contact pocket instruments. CCM-300, CCM-100, SPAD. 6. Measurement of optical properties at the leaf level using spectroradiometer with a contact probe: Obtaining vegetation indices (VI) from the vegetation spectral curve. Aim: Display of spectral curve, Selection of appropriate index for estimating chlorophyll, LMA and EWT (or other water parameter).