Plants & Human Affairs
Cherries.wmf (7140 bytes) Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

Plant Way of Life: Objectives/Study Guide

Test Your Understanding:

Important Terms/Concepts: (can you use these conversationally?)
  • alternation of generation
  • angiosperm
  • architectural design
  • asexual reproduction
  • autotrophs
  • carnivore
  • circadian rhythms
  • decomposer
  • dendritic
  • dispersal
  • etiolation
  • gravitropism
  • gymnosperm
  • herbivore
  • heterophylly
  • heterotrophs
  • indeterminate
  • leaf mosaic
  • mechanical design
  • meristem
  • nonprimary reference
  • nyctinasty
  • photoperiodism
  • phototropism
  • plasmodesmata
  • pollination
  • ramet
  • saprotroph
  • sedentary
  • skototropism
  • thigmomorphogenesis

Some Questions For Thought And Study:

  1. Compare and contrast autotrophs and heterotrophs.
  2. Discuss the consequences of being autotrophic. How have plants responded to life as autotrophs?
  3. Briefly summarize the five major consequences of sedentary, autotrophic life. How have plants responded to each?
  4. What is a positioning mechanism? Provide some examples.
  5. How do plants exploit their environment? Consider dendritic form, asexual reproduction, indeterminate growth, heterophylly, foraging and architectural design in your response.
  6. Compare and contrast animals and plants in terms of body design (i.e. architectural vs. mechanical design).
  7. Discuss some of the mechanisms by which plants sense changes in the environment. Why are these important?
  8. Identify some of the physical and biological threats to plants. How do plants protect themselves from these dangers?
  9. How do plants find a "mate" and disperse offspring?
  10. Discuss some of the problems unique to the plant way of life. In general how have plants responded to each of these problems?
  11. Think about the statement "Plants are smarter than you think!"
  12. Identify the characteristics of the plant kingdom.
  13. Autotrophs are typically non-motile and heterotrophs are typically motile. Why did evolution favor this situation?
  14. Explain why leaves are broad and flat.
  15. Compare animals and plants in terms of nutrients (type, concentration, location).
  16. Explain why plants are not limited by size.
  17. From a botanical perspective, some corals can be considered heterotrophic plants. Explain.
  18. Explain why coral is only found in relatively shallow, clear water.
  19. Identify the specialized structures (and their function) that plants use for autotrophism.
  20. Is a carnivorous plant autotrophic?
  21. Describe some pollination vectors/mechanisms.
  22. Describe some fruit dispersal systems.
  23. Explain why plants are dendritic, but animals are not.
  24. In what way is a tree like a coral colony?
  25. In what regard do plants forage for food? Identify some foraging strategies.


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Last updated:  09/09/2008 � Copyright  by SG Saupe