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Plant and Soil Sciences Courses

Program | Faculty | Courses

All courses carry 3 credits unless otherwise specified.

505 General Plant Pathology (1st sem)
Causes, nature, and control of plant diseases. Diagnosis of plant diseases. Mechanisms, biochemistry, and genetics of plant disease induction, development, and control. Prerequisite: a course in plant biology. Credit, 4. Mr. Wick

515 Microbiology of the Soil (2nd sem)

Microbial processes in the soil and sediment environment; ecology of the various microbial communities; the decomposition of organic matter, carbon transformation, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus and other mineral transformations. Chemistry of these reactions and their biogeochemical implications. Biological equilibrium, the rhizosphere, and microbial associations. Prerequisites: basic biology and chemistry courses. Consent of instructor for other than junior and seniors. Also listed as ENVIRSCI 515. Mr. Simkins

530 Plant Nutrition (1st sem)

With lab. The acquisition, transport, translocation, distribution, and function of the essential inorganic elements in plants. Genetic control of plant nutrition and ecological adaptation to nutritional variables. Diagnosis of nutritional disorders. Credit, 4. Mr. Barker

535 Diagnostic Plant Pathology (2nd sem, odd yrs)
Methods of diagnosing plant diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and abiotic agents considered using specimens collected by students. Prerequisite: PLNTSOIL 505. Credit, 4. Mr. Wick

540 Plant Breeding (1st sem)
An introduction to the principles of plant breeding. Topics cover basic breeding methods, genetic engineering, reproductive systems of crop plants, inbreeding depression and hybrid vigor, interspecific hybridization, use of genetic markers for crop improvement, breeding for disease resistance, conservation of germplasm and crop evolution. Students also gain hands-on experience in the greenhouse and lab. Prerequisite: BIOLOGY 283 or equivalent.

545 Postharvest Physiology (2nd sem, even yrs)
The basic biochemical and physiological processes occurring in fruits, vegetables, and flowers after harvest; postharvest treatments to modify these processes. Prerequisite: CHEM 110 or 111; PLSOILIN 397P desirable. Credit, 4. Ms. Han

550 Plant Growth Regulators in Agriculture (2nd sem)
The involvement of naturally occurring plant hormones and the influence that synthetic plant growth regulators have on the physiology and development of the plant. Also, the use and potential use of plant growth regulators in food, fiber and flowering plant production. Mr. Greene

555 Urban Environment and Plant Growth (1st sem)
How environmental stress factors affect growth and success of ornamental plants, trees, shrubs, and turf in urban/suburban locations. Tolerance and avoidance mechanisms. Develops criteria to fit plants to various types of urban sites. Prerequisite: PLSOILIN 397P. Mr. Manning

560 Advanced Weed Science (2nd sem, odd yrs)
Ecological concepts in weed management; historical and ecological perspectives. Weed-crop competition and allelopathy; reproductive strategy; seed dormancy, seed production, allocation of resources in perennial weeds. The physiology and biochemistry of herbicides in plants and their relationships with the soil environment. Prerequisite: PLSOILIN 310 or consent of instructor. Mr. Bhowmik

565 Soil Formation, Classification and Land Use (2nd sem)
With lab. Effect of environmental factors on soil formation and land use. Relationship between soil morphology, classification, and use interpretations. Application of soils information to on-site sewage disposal, wetland identification, and other environmentally significant problem areas. Prerequisite: introductory course in chemistry, geology, soil, or environmental science; or consent of instructor. Credit, 4. Mr. Veneman

575 Environmental Soil Chemistry (1st sem)
With lab. Chemical reactions that occur in soils. Topics include the nature and properties of soil minerals, cations exchange, soil acidity, and chemical relations in soils of plant nutrients and soil amendments. Prerequisites: CHEM 110 or 111, PLSOILIN 105. Credit, 4. Mr. Xing

591A Plant Biotech Journal Club (both sem)
Open to both graduate students and advanced undergraduate students who have an interest in reviewing the current scientific literature in the field of plant biotechnology. Credit, 1. Mr. Parkash

597A Phyto/bioremediation (1st sem, even yrs)
The use of hyper-accumulator and transgenic plants, and their associated microbes with the purpose of environmental clean-up of contaminated soil, sediments, and water. Various strategies for a wide range of toxic pollutants, both organic and elemental, with emphasis on toxic metals. Prerequisite: BIOLOGY 100 or 103, or PLSOILIN 397P or equivalent course. Mr. Parkash

597C Special Topics in Plant Nutrition (1st sem)
Instruction and discussions to enhance students’ comprehension of lecture and laboratory topics in PLNTSOIL 530. Prerequisite or co-requisite: consent of instructor or concurrent registration in PLNTSOIL 530. Credit, 1. Mr. Baker

597D Wetland Plant Identification and Ecology (1st sem, even yrs)
Introduction to the ecology and characteristics of wetland types found in the eastern United States. The ecology of each type, emphasizing their plant communities. Laboratory exercises largely devoted to visiting local wetlands for the purpose of identifying characteristic plants in the field. Prerequisite: course in basic biology or botany. Mr. Tiner

597F Intermediate Soil Science (1st sem, alt yrs)
A comprehensive survey of soil science topics including soil physical, chemical, biological, and morphological properties. Emphasis on soil properties as they relate to solving real-world environmental problems. Includes several field trips. Prerequisite: basic course in soil science, geology, environmental sciences, or related course. Note: This class available only through the university’s Division of Continuing & Professional Education and presented during alternate Saturdays at a central location in Massachusetts. Mr. Veneman

597L Wetland Delineation, Federal Procedure (1st sem, odd yrs)
All aspects of the federal procedure for wetland identification and delineation. Includes wetland classification, wetland plant identification, hydric soils recognition and various delineation procedures. Classroom instruction, followed by field exercises; individual delineation project; literature studies required for final report. Mr. Veneman

597M Topics in Turf Pathology
Review and discussion of concepts and issues related to turfgrass diseases. Weekly readings of scientific papers and trade journals required. Guest speakers from the turfgrass industry present many of the topics and lead subsequent class discussions. Prerequisite: PLNTSOIL 505. Credit, 2. Mr. Jung

597O Organic Contaminants in Soils, Waters, and Sediments (1st sem, even yrs)
Transport and fate of manmade compounds in natural and managed environments: abiotic and biotic effects including partitioning, interfaces, concentration, biodegradation and biotransformation. Examination of specific examples of compounds and classes of contaminants in affected environments, such as haloorganics and petroleum products in soil and ground water. Prerequisite: CHEM 250 or 261. Mr. Simkins

597V Integrated Turf Management (2nd sem)
Integrates material from several turf courses. Concepts of Integrated Pest Management, including stress management and pest management, emphasized. Each student develops an ITM plan for a turf setting. Prerequisites: PLSOILIN 107, 340 and 505 or equivalents. Ms. Vittum, Mr. Ebdon

597W Artificial Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment (1st sem, even yrs)
Aquatic plant selection, sizing, and design techniques. Pollution parameters of primary concern include BOD, suspended solids, nutrients, heavy metals, pathogens, organics. Treatment applications include primary and secondary effluents and sludges; storm water and agricultural runoff; solid and hazardous waste leachates, liquid industrial wastes. Field trips, student projects. Prerequisites: college algebra, introductory chemistry, introductory physics, biology; or consent of instructor. Mr. Lavigne

597X Inorganic Contaminants (2nd sem, even yrs)
Physical, chemical, and biological factors involved in the fate and effects of heavy metals and other inorganic contaminants in soils, sediments, and groundwater. Bioleaching, acid mine drainage, and environmental bioremediation also covered. Mr. Xing

602 Research Literature (both sem)
Critical review of the scientific literature in an area of specialization.

661 Intermediate Biometry (1st sem)
Supplies background necessary to design and analyze field and laboratory experiments. Focus on statistical analysis for agricultural scientists. Primary emphasis on analysis of variance, regression, and experimental design. Computer-assisted analysis presented. Prerequisites: a course in basic statistical analysis. Credit, 4. Mr. Autio

696 Independent Study (both sem)
Selected research problems not related to a candidate’s Master’s thesis. Credit, 1-6.

691A Research Proposal Presentation (both sem)
Master’s and Ph.D. candidates attend and present their research proposals and prospecti in a regular seminar meeting open to all Plant and Soil Sciences graduate students. Credit, 1. Mr. Autio

697A Data Analysis and Interpretation (both sem)
Informal discussion class, focusing on students’ problems, concerns, or enthusiasm with their own experimental designs, data analyses, or interpretations of results, including computer- (particularly SAS) generated output. New techniques presented by the instructor or guest instructors as requested by the class. Students gain practical experience with data analysis and a better understanding of the approaches necessary for their own thesis or dissertation work. Prerequisite: a course in intermediate statistical analysis. Credit, 1. Mr. Autio

699 Master’s Thesis
Maximum credit, 9.

791A Seminar Methods (2nd sem)
Training and experience in oral communication. Required once of all candidates for advanced degrees and should be taken in the first year of enrollment in the program. Mr. Herbert

792A Seminar (both sem)
Attendance at weekly departmental seminar. Expected of Master’s candidates. Credit, 1.

793A Seminar (both sem)
Presentation at departmental seminar. Master’s candidates present results of their thesis research to faculty and students at a seminar meeting open to the public. Credit, 1.

802 Research Literature (both sem)
Critical review of the scientific literature in an area of specialization.

830 Advanced Soil Chemistry (2nd sem, even yrs)
Lecture and discussion of current theories of the chemistry of soils. Consent of instructor required. Mr. Xing

892A Seminar (both sem)
Same as PLNTSOIL 792A; available to doctoral candidates. Credit, 1.

893A Seminar (both sem)
Same as PLNTSOIL 793A; required of doctoral candidates. Credit, 1.

896 Independent Study (both sem)
Selected research problems not related to a candidate’s doctoral dissertation. Credit, 1-6.

899 Doctoral Dissertation
Maximum credit, 10.