BIO324 Plant Adaptation to Climate and Pollution

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Paivi Liisa Hannele Rinne

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk, engelsk

Limits of class size:No

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:250 hours

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.

About this course

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, carbon dioxide, nutrients and air pollution. 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.


  • Develop the ability to actively listen.
  • 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.
  • Lectures with exercises. Colloquia, where students present and discuss relevant literature.
  • Communication during lectures as well as via Canvas and e-mail
  • Genetics (BIO120), plant physiology (BOT200)
  • Written digital exam, 3 hours,A-E/Failed

  • An external sensor is used for the written examination.
  • Lecture attendance is expected, and highly recommended, as it positively impacts exam performance. Presentation of a scientific paper in the colloquia and peer questioning of another presentation are mandatory activities that must be approved. Students are also expected to attend all colloquia and to take part in the discussions (group work).
  • 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

  • Special requirements in Science