Dr. T. Tomasi                                   CAR 306   836-5169                                       tomtomasi@mail.missouristate.edu  

Dr. F. Einhellig                                  CAR 306   836-5335                                       frankeinhellig@mail.missouristate.edu  




Spring 2009:    T/Th 3:00-4:50 TEM 105

Welcome to "Physiological Ecology". This is a fairly new area of scientific study which deals with physiological adaptations that improve the species' survival.  Both plants and animals will be covered: some topics more heavily in animals and others in plants. By necessity, physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry are interrelated such that one can not be taught isolated from the others. Therefore, some discussion of anatomical and biochemical adaptations will be included in this course where they are critical to understanding the function of the organism.

As you might surmise, the orientation will be one of ecological needs/limitations, environmental stresses, and the evolutionary adaptations to meet/surmount them.  The overall theme will be: How has "mother nature" altered the basic physiology, ie. modified it to improve survivorship in a particular niche? It is assumed that you have a basic knowledge of animal physiology and ecology: because few students have had a previous class in plant physiology, more basic information will be included for plants. Some knowledge of biochemistry and anatomy might also be helpful at times.

               I. Adaptation to abiotic conditions                                     (50%)
               II. Adaptations to particular lifestyles                                (25%)
               III. Adaptations for biotic (ecological) relationships             (25%)

GOALS: Our primary goal is to appreciate the flexibility of physiological systems and  the  powers of natural selection to shape the physiology of an organism. Secondarily,  you should improve your understanding of methodologies and research tools, and your skills in the integration of information, critical evaluation, and oral presentations.

TEXTS:  Because there is no text which covers this class the way we think it should be  presented, no text book is required.   Instead, short readings or book chapters and abstracts for discussion on each topic (approximately weekly) will be made available.   Plan on using the money you save on a textbook for photocopying these (~$10.00).   For further information, you are encouraged to consult the following texts as needed, but the lecture material will not follow any text closely.

New Directions in Ecological Physiology (M.E. Feder et al. eds., 1990)  

Vertebrate Ecophysiology (D. Bradshaw, 2003)

The Physiological Ecology of Vertebrates: A View from Energetics (B.K. McNab, 2002)

Physiological Animal Ecology (G. Louw, 1993)               

Physiological Ecology of Animals (R.M. Sibly & P. Calow. 1986)

Physiological Plant Ecology (3rd)(W. Larcher, 1995)                      

Plant Physiological Ecology (H.Lambers; F.S.Chapin; T.L.Pons, 1998)

Environmental Physiology of Plants (A.H. Fitter & R.K.M. Hay, 1987)

Plant Ecophysiology (M.N.V. Prasad {ed.}, 1997)          

The Physiogy of Plants Under Stress: Vol 1 & 2 (E. Nilsen & D.M. Orcutt, 1996 & 2000)

Allelopathy: Organisms, Processes, and Applications (Inderjit, Dakshini, and Einhellig, eds., 1995)

Plant-Animal  Interaction: Evolutionary Ecology in Tropical and Temperate Regions (P. Price et al.. eds., 1991)

Responses of Plants to Multiple Stresses (W. Winner et al. eds., 1991)   

FORMAT:  Recent literature will be discussed in two 2-hour lectures/discussions per week (T/Th).  Outside reading will be required for this. To make this easier, below is a list of some of the journals available to you at the library:

Advances in insect physiology        American journal of botany        American zoologist
American midland naturalist        Annual review of physiology        Bioscience
Canadian journal of botany        Canadian journal of zoology        Ecology
Functional Ecology        Journal of ecology        Oecologia
Physiological zoology        Comparative biochem. & physiol.        Physiological plantarium
Physiological reviews        Journal of chemical ecology        Journal of general physiology
Plant and cell physiology        Plant physiology        Weed Science

Oral presentations (2 per student) will be made about current journal articles (1995-present) on topics of your choice (one on plants: one on animals) within "physiological ecology". These 15 minute presentations will be scheduled by the instructor to coincide as closely as possible with lecture topics. You have one week to select your first article, and two weeks for both. These must be submitted to an instructor for approval. You must distribute title/abstract pages to the class on the day of your presentations. See separate handout for more guidance on these presentations.

GRADING:  Exams - essay (3)            300 points
                - Oral Presentations                  50 or 100 points
                - Final Exam                             100 or 200 points

As indicated above, some flexibility will be allowed for the calculation  of grades.  At the end of the semester, students will indicate how they would like the oral presentations and final exam to be weighted.  The final exam will  be comprehensive and is optional;  if you have taken all 3 exams and are satisfied with your scores to that point, you need not take it.   If you do take the final, the score is averaged (weighted) with those from the exams and presentations.  Exams may or may not be "curved".   Grades will be calculated on the basis of overall percentage of points:   90%=A, 80%=B, 70%=C,  60%=D.   In addition, your final score can be adjusted by up to + 5 percentage points based on a subjective evaluation of your class participation, and under rare circumstances: extenuating factors, extra-ordinary conduct, etc.  While you are expected to attend all class periods, there is no additional penalty for attendance: absences in themselves create a sufficient handicap in class participation and exam scores.

Any student detected participating in any form of academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions as described in the Student Academic Integrity Policies & Procedures, including an XF for the course (http://www.missouristate.edu/provost/academicintegrity.htm

Students with disabilities who may require accommodations should contact Katheryne Staeger-Wilson, Coordinator of Disability Services, 836-4192 or TTY 836-6792 (http://www.missouristate.edu/disability .Disability Services refers some types of accommodation requests to the Learning Diagnostic Clinic (LDC) (http://www.missouristate.edu/contrib/ldc  If you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated during an emergency, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. For further information on Missouri State University Emergency Response Plan, please refer to the following web site: http://www.missouristate.edu/safetran/erp.htm.

Missouri State University is an equal opportunity employer/affirmative action institution, and maintains a grievance procedure incorporating due process available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against. Address inquiries and concerns about possible discrimination to Jana Estergard , Affirmative Action Officer (836-4252). Concerns about discrimination can also be brought directly to your instructor's attention, and/or to the attention of your instructor's department head.


WEEK OF             TUESDAYS                                         THURSDAYS                      READINGS         
Jan. 12                    Intro/Light/Photodetection                      Photosynthesis                        [find 2 articles to present]      
       19                    Energy balance                                      Effects of Temperature            #1 ch 3&1 or #2 p 1-16;
                                                                                                                                                         #3 p 21-29
      26                     Thermoregulation                                   Thermoregulation                    #1 ch 2, 4, 7, 7.1-7.3
                                                                                                                                                         or #2 p16-33            
Feb  2                     Water balance/Plant adaptations            Plant water stress                    #3 p 30-37            
       9                      Water balance/Anim adaptations            Osmoregulation                      #2 p 80-97
      16                      EXAM I                                              Hypoxia                                 
      23                     Low/high pressure adapt.                       Life style adaptations              #3 p 38-48, 49-57;                  
                                                                                                                                                         #4 p 29-36
Mar  2                     ----------------------- Photoperiod ------------------------------
        9                     ------------------------ Dormancy --------------------------------     #1 ch 7.4;   #5 ch 9

      16                     Life cycle adaptations                            EXAM II
      23                      -------------- SPRING BREAK VACATION --------------
      30                   Plant defenses                                        open (?)
Apr 6                     Predator / prey adaptations                    SPRING HOLIDAY               #3 p 58-67                                                              
      13                     Competition                                           Allelopathy                             #6 p 757-768; #7 p 1-24
      20                     Symbiosis, parasitism, and other ecological relationships                      
      27                      ---------------------- Communication -----------------------
May  4                    EXAM III                                            [open]
      11                     FINAL EXAM: Tue. 5/12   3:30 5:30 pm
Books/articles for reading assignments:

#1 Temperature and Animal Life
#2 Physiological Animal Ecology
#3 Bioscience Vol. 37 (1987)
#4 Bioscience Vol. 41 (1991)
#5 Environmental Physiology
#6 Science Vol. 171 (1971)
#7 Allelopathy: Organisms, processes & applications