What is Botany?

tomatoedgeBiotechnology

Feb 20, 2013 (4 years and 4 months ago)

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What is Botany?


Botany is the scientific study of plants.

"Plants," to most people, means a wide range of
living organisms from the smallest bacteria to the largest living things
-

the giant sequoia
trees. By this definition plants include: algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and
flowering plants. Tod
ay scientists believe bacteria, algae and fungi are in their own distinct
kingdoms, but most general botany courses, and most Botany Departments at colleges and
universities, still teach about these groups.

Because the field is so broad,

there are many ki
nds of plant biologists and many different
opportunities available. Botanists interested in ecology study interactions of plants with other
organisms and the environment. Other field botanists search to find new species or do
experiments to discover how pl
ants grow under different conditions. Some botanists study the
structure of plants. They may work in the field, concentrating on the pattern of the whole
plant. Others use microscopes to study the most detailed fine structure of individual cells.
Many bota
nists do experiments to determine how plants convert simple chemical compounds
into more complex chemicals. They may even study how genetic information in DNA
controls plant development. Botanists study processes that occur on a time scale ranging from
fra
ctions of a second in individual cells to those that unfold over eons of evolutionary time.

The results of botanical research

increase and improve our supply of medicines, foods,
fibers, building materials, and other plant products. Conservationists use b
otanical knowledge
to help manage parks, forests, range lands, and wilderness areas. Public health and
environmental protection professionals depend on their understanding of plant science to help
solve pollution problems.


Areas of Specialization in Bota
ny








Plant Anatomy

The study of plant
cells and tissue.


Biophysics

The study of the
application of
physics to plant life
processes.








Cytology

The study of the
structure, function,
and life history of
plant cells.



Ethnobotany








Ecology

The study of the
relationships between
plants and the world
in which they live,
both individually and
in communities.











The

study of the uses
of plants by
indigenous peoples.








Genetics

The study of plant
heredity and
variation. Plant
gen
eticists analyze
genes and gene
function in plants.


Microbiology

about

microorganisms.
Microbiologists may
be specialized by
organism (ex,
microbiologists that
study bacteria) of by
a branch of biology
(ex, Microbial
Ecology).



Molecular Biology

The
study of the
structure and
function of biological
macromolecules in
plants, including
biochemical and
molecular aspects of
genetics.








Morphology

The study of
macroscopic plant
form and life cycles.
Morphologists also
study the evolution
and develop
ment of
leaves, roots and
stems.



Paleobotany

The study of the
biology and
evolution of fossil
plants.








Palyology

The study of pollen
and spores.







Physiology

Study of the
functions and vital
processes of plants.
Photosynthesis and
mineral
nutrition are
two examples of
subjects studied by
plant physiologists
.



Organismal Specialization in Botany








Bryology

The study of mosses,
liverworts and
similar plants
(Kingdom
Plantea

-

Division
Bryophyta

with ~25,000
species). Consisting
mainly of small
plants restricted to
moist enviroments
the bryophytes are
the second largest
groupings of land
plants. Bryologists
study all aspects of
these plants,
including their
identification,
classification, and
eco
logy.


Lichenology

The study of the
biology of lichens
(with ~18,000
species). Lichens are
dual organisms
consiting of an alga
(phycobiont) and a
fungus (mycobiont)
in a mutualistic
relationship.









Phytochemistry

The study of the
chemical aspects of
plant life processes,
iincluding the
chemical products of
plants
(biochemistry).


Systematics

The study of the
evolutionary history
and relationships
among plants. This
includes the
classification and
naming of plants.









Systems Ecology

The use of
mathematical models
to demonstrate the
role and use of plants
as components of the
ecosystem (i.e.
concepts
like nutrient
cycling).


Taxonomy

The subdiscipline of
identifying, naming,
and classifying
plants.








Mycology

The study of the
biology of fungi (two
Kingdoms, Kingdom
Protista

-

(Divisions
Myxomycota

and
Oomycota
) and
Kingdom
Fungi

-

(Divisions
Ascomycota
,
Basidiomycota
,
Chytridiomycota

and
Zygomycota
)
with over 75,000
species). Fungi have
a tremendous impact
on
our world. They
are crucial in the
biosphere because
they help recycle
dead organic
material. Some fungi
are important
producers of
biological products
such as vitamins and
antibiotics.


Phycology

The study of algae (2
Kin gdoms, Kingdom
Eubacteria

-

(Div
ision
Cyanobacteria
) and
Kingdom
Protisa

-

(Divisions
Chlorophyta
,
Chrysophyta
,
Euglenophyta
,
Phaeophyta
,
Pyrrophyta

and
Rodophyta
) with
~26,000 species),
which are the base of
the food chain in the
aquatic environments
of the world. These
oranisms are bel
ieved
to be responsible for
over half of the
photosynthetic
carbon fixation on
our planet!
Phycologists that
study algae in oceans
are sometimes called
Marine Botanists.












Pteridology

The study of ferns
and similar plants
(Kingdom
Plantea

-

(Divisions
Psilophyta
,
Lycophyta
,
Schenophyta

and
Pterophyta
) with
~12,000 species).
Pteridologists study
all aspects of fem
biology.




Applied Botanical/Plant Sciences











Agronomy

Crop and soil
sciences.
Agronomists make
practical use of
plant
and soil sciences to
increase the yield of
field crops.


Plant Breeding

The development of
better types of plants.
Breeding involves
selecting and
crossing plants with
desirable traits such
as disease resistance.












Economic Botany

The study of the
utilization of plants
by humans. The
study of plants with
commercial
importance.
Economic botany
includes the study of
botany harmful and
beneficial plants and
plant products.


Horticulture

The production of
ornamental plants
and fruit and
vegetable crops.
Landscape design is
also an important
subdiscipline in
horticulture.









Food Science &
Technology

The development of
food from vanous
plant products.


Forestry

The study of forest
management and the
utilization of forest
products.








Plant Pathology

The study of the
diseases of plants.
Plant pathologists are
concerned with both
the biological aspects
of disease and with
disease management,
or control.


Natural Resource
Management

The responsible use
and protection of our
natural resources for
the benefit of society.











Biotechnology

The study and manipulation of genes within and between species.
Using biological organisms to produce useful products. Most people
today have a narrower view of biotechnology as the genetic
modification of living organisms to produce useful products. Plant
biotechnology involves inserting desirable genes into plants and
having those genes expressed.