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Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany | The Great Courses

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Published on Oct 2, 2017

Flowering plants arrived relatively late in geological time, between 290 to 145 million years ago. But once here, they evolved quickly and often displaced many other types of plants. In fact, in terms of species, flowering plants are the dominant plant form on Earth today with more than 300,000 types. Learn how their unique reproductive mechanisms led to this explosion of speciation in such a relatively short time.

This free video comes from the course Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany. Watch the rest of the course and start your FREE trial of The Great Courses Plus here: https://www.TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/s...


About the course:
If you look around right now, chances are you’ll see a plant. It could be a succulent in a pot on your desk, grasses or shrubs just outside your door, or trees in a park across the way. Proximity to plants tends to make us happy, even if we don’t notice, offering unique pleasures and satisfactions. And of course without plants, we wouldn’t even be here: Not only do plants produce oxygen, they also produce their own food—the food that directly or indirectly supports us and all animal life on the planet.

In the 24 lectures of Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany, Dr. Catherine Kleier invites us into the uniquely satisfying world of plants, and the joy of celebrating and learning from the secrets of living nature. As Dr. Kleier shares her tremendous depth of knowledge with contagious excitement for her subject—supported by fascinating graphics and in-studio demonstrations—she emphasizes the “stories” of plants themselves: Without neglecting genetics or cell microbiology, or larger ecosystems and habitats, her primary emphasis is always on how plants we see all around us live and adapt. Dr. Kleier shares with you the pleasures of being able to identify and understand the workings of that tree just outside your window – and of any other plant you may encounter.

With almost 400,000 known species and thousands more identified every year, the variety of plant life is almost overwhelming—from the microscopic to the largest organism on Earth.

In Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany, you will explore the astonishing adaptations that allow plants to live in an enormous variety of ecosystems, from deserts and the ocean floor to thousands of feet above sea level and on every continent. You will understand why there are no fewer than three kinds of photosynthesis, how the process separates plants from animals, and why many plants rely on symbiosis with bacteria and fungi in conjunction with photosynthetic processes.

Dr. Kleier also introduces fascinating questions botanists are still working to answer. We know plants can sense and respond to their environments, but can they remember their experiences? We know plants communicate to others in their vicinity via chemical signals, but is it also possible some plants have evolved an ability to detect sound waves? We know certain plants respond to touch, but can they be conditioned to “learn” when it is unnecessary to respond? And perhaps the most basic of questions: what exactly is a species? Now that scientists have access to genetic techniques such as DNA fingerprinting, it is relatively easy to find different alleles for different genes. But how many different alleles does it take to identify a new species? It’s an ongoing and exciting debate in the ever-changing world of botany.

Botanists are constantly examining and evaluating the natural world, and Dr. Kleier is passionate about working in the field and observing plants as they exist in their many habitats and varieties, a passion that comes through in every lecture as she teaches you how to do the same. As presented in this course, botany is a science rooted in experience with plants, a vibrant set of encounters that breathe life even into the plant diagrams and long scientific names of traditional biology.

Learn to see the world around you afresh as you read the stories of plant life for yourself with a professor who transforms science into an adventure.

Learn more about this course and start your FREE trial of The Great Courses Plus here: https://www.TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/s...


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