Dr. Shpak teaches “Introductory Plant Physiology” BCMB321.

This class is targeted at junior and senior students majoring in biology. It covers cell and organismal physiology of plants, genetics, metabolic processes, mineral nutrition, control of growth and development, effects of environmental factors on plant growth, and the role of biotechnology in modern agriculture.

The textbook recommended (but optional) for this class is Plant Biology by A. Smith.

Below are topics discussed in the class and links to videos that will help you to recall what you have learned about these topics in high school or lower-level undergraduate classes and to better understand the material that we discuss in class.

Genes and Genomes

SubtopicVideo LinkDescription of Video
Nuclear genome and structure of chromosomes Link“What are chromosomes?” Bozeman video, 5:34 min, high school AP level
Cytoplasmic genomes (genomes of plastids and mitochondria)Link“Extranuclear inheritance” A Khan Academy video, 7:13 min, high school AP level
PolyploidyLink“Why Do Strawberries Have Eight Copies of Their Genes” SciShow video, 6:47 min, popular science
Link“How Do Seedless Watermelons Reproduce?” SciShow video, 4:05 min, popular science
Differential gene expressionLinkOnline Developmental Biology: “Analyzing Gene Expression” 11:05 min, college level
Arabidopsis as a model organism in plant geneticsLink“Arabidopsis: the model plant” 2:15 min, college level

Cell Biology of Plants

SubtopicVideo LinkDescription of Video
The overall structure of plant cellLinkAustin Visuals 3D Animation Studio “Plant Cell”, 2:57 min, high school level
Mitosis, Plant cytokinesisLinkMitosis in lily cells, 1:24 min, high school and college level
Division of plastids
Transport of proteins to plastidsLinkSRP Dependent Pathway of Protein Transport to Thylakoid, Hussain Biology video, 2:21 min, college level
Glycosylation of plant proteins
Structure of primary and secondary plant cell wallLinkCellulose synthesis by plant cells by Drew Berry Animation, 2:18 min, high school and college level
LinkPlant Primary Cell Wall by 3D Illustrations, 1:20 min
LinkThe cell wall by Siobhan Braybrook (UCLA), 27:11 min, upper-undergraduate and graduate level
Plant cell expansionLinkCell Wall Mechanics and Growth by Siobhan Braybrook (UCLA), 33:34 min, upper-undergraduate and graduate level


SubtopicVideo LinkDescription of Video
Control of metabolic pathwaysLinkMetabolism basics – Enzyme regulation, 5:22 min, by Derek McLachlin, college level
PhotosynthesisLinkWhere Do Trees Get Their Mass? 4:09 min by Veritasium, popular science
LinkPhotosynthesis Unleashes Chemical Superweapon: Oxygen, 5 min by Science Channel, popular science
LinkUnderstand how the presence of different pigments determines a plant’s color. By Britannica, 2 min, popular science
LinkThe chloroplast, 5:36 min by Bozeman Science, high school AP level
LinkPhotosystem II by ndsuvirtualcell, 4:32 min, high school and college level
LinkPhotosynthesis and Photorespiration, 12 min by Bozeman Science, high school AP level
LinkPhotosynthesis, 13 min by Crash course, high school AP level
LinkReduction and oxidation, 3:55 by Derek McLachlin, college level
Sucrose transportLink“The Structure and Functions of Phloem” 3,2 min by Freesciencelessons, college level
Link“Translocation in the Phloem”, 5 min, by Freesciencelessons, college level
Carbon storageLink“Uses of Glucose from Photosynthesis”, 2:27 min, by Freesciencelessons, college level
LinkStructure and Properties of Starch Part 1″, 3 min, by Freesciencelessons, college level
LinkStructure and Properties of Starch Part 1″, 2:50 min, by Freesciencelessons, college level
LinkLipids, 7 min, by Bozeman Science, high school AP level
Mineral nutrition: assimilation of nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and ironLinkPlant Nutrition and Transport, 14 min, by Bozeman Science, high school AP level
LinkThe Man Who Killed Millions and Saved Billions, story about nitrogen fertilizers, 22 min, by Veritasium, popular science
LinkPlant Nitrogen Uptake and Assimilation, 5:09 min, by
Photoperiodismlab, college level
LinkPlant Nutrition: Mineral Absorption, 4:36 min, and The story of iron by ndsuvirtualcell, college level
LinkNitrogen & Phosphorus Cycles: Always Recycle!, 9:21 min, by Crash course, high school AP level
Movement of water and mineralsLinkHow Trees Bend the Laws of Physics, 7:22 min, by Veritasium, popular science

Plant Development

SubtopicVideo LinkDescription of Video
General principles of plant development
Light and photoreceptorsLinkPhototropism Explained, 3:29 min, by Science Sauce, high school level
LinkPhototropism and Auxin, 2:12 min, IBHBiology, high school
LinkPhytochromes, 5:11 min, BiologyWithNewhouse
Introduction to plant hormonesLinkPlant Control, 7:53 min, by Bozeman Science, high school AP level
Embryo and seed developmentLinkEmbryogenesis in Plants, 3:32 min, by Sci-ology, high school and college level
Shoot development: the maintenance of shoot apical meristem, leaf initiation and polarity, internode elongation, apical dominance, and senescenceLinkStructure of the SAM, 2:09 min, by Sci-ology, high school and college level
LinkThe Real Reason Leaves Change Color In the Fall, 2:29 min, by MiniuteEarth, popular science
LinkElliot Meyerowitz Modeling Arabidopsis phyllotaxis, 28 min, by IBiology, college level
Root development: root structure and growth (including gravitropism) LinkDevelopmental Zones of the Root, 1:12 min, by sci-ology, high school and college level
LinkEffects of auxin concentration on the growth of shoots and roots; 1:44 min, Oxford Mastering Biology, high school and college level
Plant reproductionLinkAlternation of Generations, 17 min, by the PenguinProf, college level
LinkDouble Fertilization in Angiosperms, 4 min, by Peter Klappa, high school and college level
ABC model of flower developmentLinkABC Model of Flower Development, 3:54 min, by sci-ology, college level
LinkThe ABCs of Flower Development by Martin Yanofsky, 29:30 min, college level
Flowering and PhotoperiodismLink

Photoperiodic Flowering part I and II, By the BioClock Studio, 8:20 min and 7:47 min, college level

Abiotic Stress

SubtopicVideo LinkDescription of Video
Light as stress
High temperature stress
Drought stress
Salt stress

Biotic Interactions

SubtopicVideo LinkDescription of Video
Plant pathogensLinkIntroduction to Plant Pathogens, by Dr. DeBusk, 14:30 min, college level
LinkBananas Are Losing the War on Fungus, 4:20 min, by SciShow, popular science
LinkThis Plant Is A Vampire, 7:37 min, by Animalogic, popular science
LinkThe Irish Potato Famine (1845–1852), 5:41 min, by Simple History, popular science
LinkSee how Potato Late Blight develops by Corteva Agriscience, 3:39 min, college level
Plant defensesLinkHow plant immune systems protect them from disease – Jonathan Jones, 54 min, by Gatsby Plant Science Education, college level
LinkThe amazing ways plants defend themselves 6:11 min, by Valentin Hammoudi, high school level
LinkPlant Defenses, 16:33 min, by Dr. Says, college level
LinkIntroduction to Plant-Pathogen Interactions, 19 min, by Dr. He, college level
LinkThe Top 10 Deadliest Plants (They Can Kill You!), 8:17 min, by SciShow, popular science
LinkWhy Does Caffeine Exist? By PBS Eons, 10:41 min, popular science
Symbiosis of plants with bacteria and fungiLinkLegume and Bacteria Symbiosis by Sharon Long, 18 min, college level
LinkMycorrhizal Fungi Animation, 1:08 min, Primrose TV, popular science
Plant insect interactionsLinkWhy Insects & Plants Have a Complicated Relationship, 28 min, by SciShow video, popular science

Agriculture and Biotechnology

SubtopicVideo LinkVideo Description
Domestication, Agriculture, Organic farming and GMOs Link“Corn Shouldn’t Be Food, But It Is” by SciShow video, 7:04 min, popular science
LinkNorman Borlaug: The Controversial Father of the Green Revolution, 21:30 min, by Biographics, popular science
LinkWhy are GMOs Bad (they are not)?, 11:25 min,
By SciShow, popular science
LinkWhat Does “Organic” Mean, and Should You Buy Organic Foods? 10:47 min, By SciShow, popular science
LinkHow Safe Are Pesticides, Really? 12:15 min, By SciShow, popular science

Interested to learn more about plant biology? Check out lectures that describe biological phenomena at a deeper level at: https://www.ibiology.org/research-talks/plant-biology/ or learn more about plants from short, engaging videos about plant biology https://plantae.org/short-engaging-videos-about-plant-biology/.