PBIO*3110 – Crop Physiology Topic 1 - Levels of Organization What makes Crop Physiology different from other plant sciences, such as Plant Physiology or Agronomy? Learning Objectives 1.Understand how different scientific disciplines may be ordered according to the spatial and temporal scales at which natural phenomena are observed and described. 2.Be able to contrast the discipline of Crop Physiology with the related disciplines of Plant Physiology and Agronomy. 3.Be able to explain why phenomena that occur at higher levels of organization can not always be deduced mechanistically from measurements at lower levels of organization. Introduction Plants capture resources from the environment such as light, water, and nutrients. In natural ecosystems, those plants that sequester the most material from the environment will likely be the most competitive ecologically. Similarly, in managed agronomic systems, plants that capture the most natural resources are likely to be the most productive. In this course, we will discuss factors affecting the growth and development (and therefore yield) of crops, in terms of the biophysical and biochemical processes that govern resource capture and utilization. According to this view of crop productivity, crop growth and development can be encapsulated in a system of mathematical equations that represents the flows of carbon and energy, as well as other potentially limiting resources such as water and mineral nutrients. Students often wonder how the subject of Crop Physiology differs from Plant Physiology. Is it just Plant Physiology, but considering economically important plant species? This is not really an accurate definition, but to understand why, one must consider the concept of levels of organization.