Plant Physiology

TPSS 470


Robert Paull

Semesters taught:

Spring 2016


The objectives of this course are to provide students with an understanding of whole plant physiology, and the fundamental significance of the underlying biochemical and molecular processes involved. You should gain an understanding and appreciation of plant function, including the dynamic processes of growth, development and reproduction and the response to the environmental stresses. Environmental stresses include drought, flooding, nutrient deficiencies, salinity, toxic ions, extreme temperatures and insect feeding and diseases. Wild and cultivated plant species responds to these stresses at the molecular, physiological, developmental and morphological levels and in doing so enable plants to avoid or tolerate these stresses via stress acclimation and adaptation processes.

Specifically, the course provides basic information on crop processes and responses that will later be used in crop production, horticulture, plant protection and plant breeding and other areas of environmental management that require understanding of normal plant growth and development.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Students should know about plant cells and the molecular involved in plant growth and development, plant nutrition, water relations and how plants interact with their environments. Students should be able to apply the knowledge gained to ecological and plant production problems.


Integration of form and function from cellular to whole plant levels in processes from seed germination, through photosynthesis, growth, and morphogenesis, to flowering and senescence. A-F only. Pre: BIOL 171 and CHEM 152, or consent. DB

Computer skills to be acquired:



BIOL 171 & CHEM 162 or consent


Required Text
Fundamentals of Plant Physiology 
Lincoln Taiz Eduardo Zeiger, Ian Max Moller and Angus Murphy. 2018
eBook: ISBN 9781605357911 via RedShelf, VitalSource, Chegg     $ 57.95
Bound paperback: ISBN 9781605357904                                         $114.95
Purchased    Enter code   Asai2018 - valid till 2019 January 31 
On-Line Free Text Books All lecture PowerPoints will be posted on-line.
  1. Brian J. Atwell, Paul E. Kriedemann, Colin G.N. Turnbull (Editors) 1999. Plants In Action. Available at
  2. Rana Munns, Susanne Schmidt and Cristine Beveridge, (Editors) 2014. Plants In Action - 2nd Edition. Covers Chapter 1.- Light use and leaf gas exchange, Chapter 2. - Carbon dioxide assimilation and respiration, Chapter 5. - Phloem transport, Chapter 6. - Growth analysis, Chapter 11. - Fruit growth, ripening and postharvest physiology, and Chapter 14. - Temperature.
  3. Cell Biology Teaching Tools - Look at the 24-slide overview for the various relevant lectures. You need a address to have library access.

Films and videos:


Guest Speakers:

Dr. Richard Criley

Field Trips:


Course organization:

The lecture periods will involve both a presentation of the questions posed at the start of each of the textbook chapter and a discussion of the chapter topic. Students are expected to read the chapter in the textbook before class and be prepared to answer questions and enter into discussion on the chapter’s contents.

Two themes will be used to develop the principal concepts in plant growth and development: i) grafting of plants and how the graft union forms, and, ii) environmental factors and managing plant growth and development in modern greenhouses.

The course covers the following areas of plant physiology in the order given in the recommended text:

  • CHAPTER 1    Plant and Cell Architecture
  • CHAPTER 2    Water and Plant Cells
  • CHAPTER 3    Water Balance of Plants
  • CHAPTER 4    Mineral Nutrition 91
  • CHAPTER 5    Assimilation of Inorganic Nutrients
  • CHAPTER 6    Solute Transport 
  • CHAPTER 7    Photosynthesis: The Light Reactions
  • CHAPTER 8    Photosynthesis: The Carbon Reactions
  • CHAPTER 9    Photosynthesis: Physiological and Ecological Considerations 
  • CHAPTER 10  Translocation in the Phloem
  • CHAPTER 11   Respiration and Lipid Metabolism
  • CHAPTER 12   Signals and Signal Transduction
  • CHAPTER 13   Signals from Sunlight
  • CHAPTER 14    Embryogenesis
  • CHAPTER 15    Seed Dormancy, Germination, and Seedling Establishment
  • CHAPTER 16    Vegetative Growth and Senescence
  • CHAPTER 17     Flowering and Fruit Development
  • CHAPTER 18     Biotic Interactions
  • CHAPTER 19     Abiotic Stress


You are graded upon a combination of achievement, effort, attitude, in-class, conduct, and growth. A relative grading system is used - a grade is given based on how you perform relative to one another. A “C” grade is the class mean + 0.5 class SD.
Your final grade will be based upon the following examinations:

            Two multiple choice mid-terms, each worth 25% (25% + 25%)          50%

            Weekly Short Answers                                                                        20%

            Final examination                                                                                30%


The second mid-term will cover only material since the first mid-term. The final examination will cover the last one third of the course with about 30% questions taken from the first 2/3 of the course, as multiple choice and short answer questions.

Weekly Short Answers (20%) Due Dates Given in Syllabus via Laulima:  Each answer should be no more than 150 words, double spacing between lines with Times New Roman 12 point font. Margins 1" all round. Put at top your name and the date. References, if given, should be provided in the “Harvard Format”, references do not count towards the 150 words.

  1.     Students are expected to take all exams as scheduled. Make up exams will only be scheduled if you have inform the instructors prior to the examination and have been excused. 
  2.     Attendance in lecture is required. Your class participation will significantly impact grading, especially in borderline grading situations.
  3.     Lecture material will be posted on Laulima with study questions. All examination questions will be taken directly or with some rewording from these study questions.


2018 November 30