HPP-23806 Crops, Physiology and Environment


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. E Heuvelink
TN Kerstens
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. ing. AGT Schut
dr. ir. W van Ieperen
dr. JB Evers
dr. ir. E Heuvelink
TN Kerstens
Examiner(s)dr. ir. E Heuvelink

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PPH-10806 Structure and Function of Plants


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with HPP-22803 Concepts in Environmental Plant Physiology and/or HPP-21306 Crop Ecology.

The abiotic environment (light, temperature and wind, CO2 concentration, drought and salinity) strongly influences plant growth and crop production. In this course the focus is on key concepts relating the functioning of plants to their abiotic environment. Crop production and plant growth is described by simple mathematical equations to enable the quantification of effects of environmental conditions. These concepts are relevant for both open field and greenhouse cropping systems and examples are taken from both systems. Students will learn to comprehend meaningful integrated concepts that combine knowledge from plant physiology and environmental sciences. These concepts aim to better understand the complexity of plant-environment systems and ultimately can be used to develop new hypotheses for research and for practical applications in crop production.
Keywords: light, temperature, CO2 concentration, plant growth analysis, photosynthesis, biomass production, biomass partitioning, yield component analysis, potential and water limited plant growth, concept map.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand relationships between plant growth and their abiotic environment and crop physiological aspects relevant for crop production;
- identify key components of and conceptualise complex systems;
- explain and develop concepts that are key to an understanding of various areas of environmental plant physiology based on knowledge on elementary chemistry and physics;

- build concept maps (graphical representation of interlinked knowledge of different domains) of interactions between the physical environment and plant functioning; 

- understand the meaning and importance of parameters and concepts in plant and crop growth: e.g. RGR, NAR, LAR, light interception, light use efficiency, biomass partitioning [sink strength, functional equilibrium], water use efficiency;
- argue and make calculations for (key processes in) crop growth and yield, based on the above mentioned parameters and concepts;
- understand what reasonable values are for important parameters and for simulated outcomes of plant growth models.


- preparing, attending and studying lectures;
- reading and processing scientific literature to prepare for practical assignments;
- participation in practicals and tutorials;
- preparing one oral presentation and written reports on practical assignments;
- participation in the tutorials by means of questions and answers;
- self-study.


- written exam with open questions (75%, minimum mark required: 5.5);
- practical assignment and multiple choice exam (25%, minimum mark required: 5.5, valid for 2 years).


Course syllabus + specific chapters from 2 textbooks: Plants in Action (plantsinaction.science.uq.edu.au/edition1/) and Plant Physiological Ecology (www.springer.com/us/book/9780387783406)

Restricted Optional for: MPSPlant SciencesMScB: Spec. B - Greenhouse Horticulture2AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScA: Spec. A - Crop Science2AF
Compulsory for: WUCCPBSc Minor Concepts in Crop Production2AF