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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2018
Sep 17, 2021
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BIOL 353 - Plants and Society
Many people suffer from ‘plant blindness’: we barely notice plants, don’t understand how they work, are not aware of the botanical origins of many products we rely on in our daily lives, and, perhaps most importantly, don’t recognize the essential role of plants as one of the primary producers of almost all of the food and oxygen on the planet. Plants, however, are not as different from animals as they may seem; both groups of organisms have the same basic biological needs -- to eat, drink, breathe, grow, locate mates and reproduce, escape from enemies, and sense and respond to their environments. Plants’ fascinating solutions to these problems reflect both a shared common ancestry with animals, as well as 1.5 billion years of independent evolutionary history.   

In this course, we aim to remediate ‘plant blindness’. Through lectures, discussions, critical reading of the literature, group projects, oral presentations, and field trips, students will gain an understanding of basic concepts of plant morphology, physiology, diversity, and ecology.  We will also examine human uses of plants (as foods, medicines, spices, dyes, oils, fibers, building materials, etc.), as well as the role that plants have played in human history, from the origin of civilization through the age of discovery, and on into the future.    
Two 75 minute classes / week.  

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

Biology Department

BIOL 104

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