Course code BIO324

BIO324 Plant Adaptation

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2018 - 2019 .

Course responsible: Paivi Liisa Hannele Rinne
Teachers: Sissel Torre, Åshild Gunilla Ergon, Siri Fjellheim, Christiaan van der Schoot, Morten Lillemo
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Biosciences
Teaching language: EN, NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2012-2013
Course contents:
Climate and global distribution of plant species. Effects of environment, and climatic factors on plant function, growth and development, including the underlying mechanisms of adaptation. Direct effects and responses to environmental stress caused by temperature, water, light, and carbon dioxide. Special attention is given to phenotypic plasticity and genetic adaptation in the context of climate change.
Learning outcome:

The course will provide broad knowledge on how plants respond, interact with and adapt to the abiotic environment. This includes short-term acclimation (how plants perceive environmental cues and adapt phenotypically) and adaptation at the longer time scales of evolution. The obtained knowledge will enable students to better understand how environmental stress affects plant physiology in natural ecosystems, and how this knowledge can be used to increase agricultural efficiency (for example, through breeding) in managed ecosystems required for food production. The overall aim of the course is to give perspective and tools to address problems and possibilities related to plants and their growth and development in the changing climate.


  • Can define and discuss the meaning of relevant terms as for example acclimation, phenotypic plasticity, adaptation, stress, resistance, tolerance. Can give examples of such phenomena. 
  • Can describe and explain how temperature, water, light, CO2 concentration, and salt affect physiological processes, cause stress, and regulate growth and development. Can describe and explain interactions in the effects that these factors have on plants.
  • Can describe acclimation processes.
  • Can explain how different traits and mechanisms promote or hinder plant adaption to certain climatic conditions.
  • Can describe and explain how climate change is projected to affect geographical distribution of species and vegetation, phenology and plant production.
  • Can discuss the role that life strategy, acclimation, phenotypic plasticity and genetic variation has for natural plant populations, and plant breeding, in a climate change perspective.


  • Can take part in discussions of themes related to plants, climate and environmental stress with arguments based on scientific knowledge.

General competence

  • Can read, understand and communicate scientific literature.
Learning activities:
Lectures. Colloquia were students present and discuss relevant literature.
Teaching support:
Communication via Canvas and e-mail

Willey (2016). Environmental plant physiology. Garland Science. ISBN 978-0-8153-4469-8. 

Selected chapters from other books and review papers

Genetics (BIO120), plant physiology (BOT200)
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
All students must present a scientific paper in the colloquia and ask questions of another presentation. Both activities must be approved. Students are expected to attend each others presentations and to take part in a discussion (group work) after the presentations.
Written digital exam, 3 hours,A-E/Failed
Nominal workload:
300 hours
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science
Type of course:

2-4 hours per week

Lectures: Approx. 20 hours in total

Guest lectures: Approx. 6 hours in total

Student presentations and group discsussions: Approx. 14 hours in total

An external sensor is used for the written examination.
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: One written exam: A - E / Ikke bestått