2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Ecological Agriculture: Crop Botany and Plant Genetics

Spring 2012 quarter

Martha Rosemeyer agricultural ecology, food systems , Donald Morisato genetics, molecular biology
Fields of Study
agriculture, biology, botany and sustainability studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
agriculture, biology and plant breeding.

How do seeds form? How do plants develop from seeds? How do plants adapt to particular environmental conditions? The modification of plant evolution by human selection has played a major role in the history of agriculture. Ecological agriculture is based on an understanding of plant biology, either through the grazing of livestock or the growing of food crops. This program focuses on the science of crop botany and genetics as a basis for propagation, seed-saving and plant breeding.

In one strand, the basic life cycle, plant physiology and reproductive botany of crop members of the plant families most important for agriculture will be explored. This systematic survey will make connections to their center of diversity and origin. In a second strand, the principles of plant breeding will be presented through an introduction to Mendelian and quantitative genetics. Some of the agricultural methods of plant reproduction, by both sexual and vegetative propagation, will be considered. Readings may include Ashworth's Seed to Seed, Deppe's Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, and Nabhan's Where Our Food Comes From.

The adaptation of crop plants to specific environments, especially in this era of climate change, becomes increasingly critical for the future of sustainable agriculture. Laboratory and field experiments, as well as field trips to local farms and plant breeding centers, will provide an applied context for our inquiry.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$180 for field trips and conference fees.
Offered During