Physiological Ecology

Requirements for Ecology students who wish to pursue the option in physiological ecology


The Physiological Ecology option is concerned primarily with the function and performance of organisms in their environment. A major objective of this option is to give graduate students an understanding of the underlying physiological, morphological, biochemical, and molecular attributes of organisms with respect to the constraints imposed by the environment. A second objective is to provide graduate students with a synthetic view that attempts to explain the distribution and success of organisms measured in terms of the factors promoting long-term survival and reproduction in the environment.

Penn State now employs many faculty members with expertise in physiological ecology in various departments, such as Agronomy, Biology, Entomology, Forest Resources, Horticulture, Plant Pathology; most of these faculty members are affiliated with the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP) in Ecology. These faculty members have trained many graduate students that have specialized research within the field of physiological ecology. The Physiological Ecology Option in the IGDP in Ecology was established in order to centralize and formalize the student’s training in this field. A student graduating with this option will have achieved the preparation and competence to continue research in this important area of science.

Requirements for the MS or the PhD degree in Ecology with an option in Physiological Ecology

Students working toward the Physiological Ecology Option will select two required courses from the following list:

BIOL 406 Symbiosis (3)
BIOL 446 Physiological Ecology (3)
HORT 445 Plant Ecology (3)
PLBIO 514 Modern Techniques and Concepts in Plant Ecophysiology (2)

In addition, two courses (at least 6 credits) are required from this list of Physiological Ecology courses:

AGRO 518 Responses of Plants to Environmental Stress (3)
AGRO 410W Physiology of Agricultural Crops (4)
BIOL 415 Ecotoxicology (3)
BIOL 441 Plant Physiology (3)
ENT 539 Chemical Ecology of Insects (3)
PLBIO 512 Plant Resource Acquisition and Utilization (4)
PLBIO 513 Integrative Plant Communication and Growth (4)
PLBIO 515 Modern Techniques and Concepts in Plant Cell Biology (2)
PLBIO 516 Modern Techniques and Concepts in Plant Molecular Biology (2)