I teach Plant Science Agro 131 fall and Spring semesters. I focus on introducing core concepts in how plants drive and control their growth. Starting with the properties, uptake and balance of water in plants, I then discuss light control of plant growth, light and dark reactions of photosynthesis, photorespiration, C3, C4 and CAM plants, respiration and integrating these concepts to discuss their effects on crop productivity. I teach plant mineral nutrition and diagnosis of deficiency as well as understanding the molecular basis of mineral nutrient requirements and deficiencies.
I expose students at this early stage to important aspects of seed biology including crop domestication and the genetics and biochemistry of how seeds control nutrient accumulation during their development. Finally, I introduce fundamental aspects of plant hormone biology explaining how plants use hormones to sense and adapt to their environment. My teaching of these concepts focuses on ‘easy to relate to’, agronomic and horticultural examples and is aimed at inspiring and fortifying future plant scientists as well as providing memorable and useful knowledge to students pursuing non-science related careers.