BIO324 Plant Adaptation to Climate and Pollution

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Åshild Gunilla Ergon

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

Effects of environmental and climatic factors on plant function, growth and development. Direct effects and responses to temperature, water, light, carbon dioxide, pollutants and other conditions affected by humans. 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 conditions 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 face of pollution and a changing climate.


  • Can define and discuss the meaning of acclimation, phenotypic plasticity, evolutionary adaptation, stress, resistance, tolerance. Can give examples of such phenomena.
  • Can describe and explain how temperature, water, light, CO2, salt and pollutants 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 and explain mechanisms that enable plants to cope with different types of abiotic stress.
  • Can describe acclimation processes.
  • Can describe and explain how climate change has affected species distribution, phenology, agricultural plant production up to now, and how it is projected to affect these things in the future.
  • Can give examples of role that life strategy, acclimation, phenotypic plasticity and genetic variation has for natural plant populations, and plant breeding, in the face of climate change and pollution.


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

General competence

  • Can use knowledge from this subject to solve problems in land-based plant production, plant breeding or nature management.
  • Can use knowledge from this subject in advisory and informational activities, teaching and research.
  • 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

    Written exam Grading: Letter grades Permitted aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
  • 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