Advanced Plant Ecophysiology

Course content

What is Plant Ecophysiology?

Plant Ecophysiology is the study of how plants sense, respond and adapt to variable environmental conditions.

Course topics: In the Advanced Plant Ecophysiology course we focus on plant responses to environmental stress including climate change and adverse soil conditions.

We will focus on natural terrestrial ecosystems as well as cultivated systems used for commercial plant production. The key-topics of the course are trained through a balanced combination of lectures and theoretical and practical exercises. We will work primarily on contemporary biological cases, linked to the global concerns regarding climate change and soil deterioration.


The course is divided into two themes:

Theme A: Plant adaptation to changing environmental conditions

The energy budget of plants

The impacts of climate on respiration and C3, C4 and CAM photosynthesis

Drought resistance of plants

The role of plant nutrients in adaptation to environmental stress


Theme B: Plants and adverse soil conditions

Natural variation in the elemental composition of plants

Plant growth in acidic, alkaline or saline soils

Plant growth in contaminated soils and phytoremediation

Interactions between plant roots and soil microorganisms


MSc Programme in Agriculture

Learning outcome

After completion of the course students will have gained:


An advanced understanding of how the environment influence plant growth at various levels of integration, from the molecular and single cell levels to the whole plant level. An advanced understanding of plant adaptation to adverse environments.


To assess the impact of changes in the environment on plant growth. To use the concepts of plant stress responses to understand the mechanisms involved in plant adaptation and acclimation to adverse conditions.


The student will obtain key competences within nature management and will be able to evaluate the conditions for plant growth in natural ecosystems. In addition, competences to evaluate and suggest strategies for improved plant tolerance towards adverse environmental and climatic conditions by e.g. plant breeding and biotechnology will be developed.

The course will consist of lectures, theoretical and practical exercises based on research data or relevant cases, solved individually or in groups for each topic.

Lambers, Chapin and Pons, 2008, Plant Physiological Ecology, 
2nd edition, Springer.

Pdf files of all chapters can be downloaded from via the university library.


Prior knowledge of plant physiology – of particular relevance are the courses “Planters Økofysiology”, “Advanced Plant Biology” and “Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility”.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
30 min preparation with all aids followed by a 20 min examination.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

In accordance with the learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • Practical exercises
  • 16
  • Theory exercises
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 130
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 207