Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Head: Boris A. Vinatzer
Professors: J. F. Derr, J. D. Eisenback, E. A. Grabau, R. Grene, C. Hong, C. S. Johnson, D.B. Langston Jr., J. M. McDowell, D. G. Schmale III, B. A. Vinatzer, J. H. Westwood, and K. S. Yoder
Associate Professors: S. D. Askew, M. Balota, J. N. Barney, A. B. Baudoin, E. Colláková, J. G. Jelesko, G. Pilot, and S. L. Rideout
Assistant Professors: M. L. Flessner, D. C. Haak, D. S. McCall, H. L. Mehl, M. Nita, and X. Wang
Special Research Faculty: E. A. Bush, D. S. McCall, and S. Y. Park
Instructor: M. A. Hansen
The primary mission of the department is research, extension and graduate education in the areas of plant pathology (nature, biology and control of plant diseases), plant physiology, and weed science (weed biology and control, action of herbicides). No undergraduate majors are offered in these areas, but the department does offer an undergraduate minor in Plant Health Sciences, focused on managing plant health in response to a variety of biotic and abiotic threats. These threats include pathogens, weeds, insects and environmental stressors (drought, heat, cold, pollutants, nutrients) that impact our food crops, forests, and landscape plants; students in the Departments of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Horticulture, Biological Sciences, or Biochemistry are most likely to enroll in this minor, but students in other departments may participate as well if they have the prerequisite freshman biology and chemistry courses. Consult the department office (413 Price) or web site (www.ppws.vt.edu) for more information on the minor. Several undergraduate courses offered by the department are also required or electives for students in agricultural or biological majors. These courses are designed to furnish basic knowledge of the nature, diagnosis, and control of plant diseases; identification, biology, and control of weeds; plant metabolism, nutrition, molecular biology, and growth regulation; invasive plant biology; and modern pest management and pesticide usage.
The department offers graduate programs leading to M.S. in the life sciences and Ph.D. in plant pathology, plant physiology and weed science. A non-thesis M.S. program in plant protection and pest management is also available (see Graduate Catalog).
2004: MYSTERIOUS MUSHROOMS, MALICIOUS MOLDS Study of the fungi and their close relatives, with special attention to their roles in the natural world and in shaping the course of human history. Historical and practical significance of fungi as sources of medicine, pathogens of plants and animals, rotters and decayers of organic matter, makers of food and drink, manufacturers of dangerous toxins, and producers of mind-altering chemicals. A student must have a basic understanding of biology. (3H,3C)
2104: PLANTS, GENES, AND PEOPLE Explores how and why humans have manipulated plant genomes from prehistory through the current genomic era by examining the scientific, cultural, historical, and legal aspects of plant gene management in both conventional and transgenic crops. Pre: BIOL 1005 or BIOL 1105. (3H,3C)
2754: WEEDS THAT SHAPE OUR WORLD How weeds shape our world, and why society will never get rid of them. Introduction to weed identification, weeds in their socio-cultural, environmental, and economic context. Consideration of the tension among their beneficial aspects, control, human attitudes, and the ethical dilemmas they post to society. (3H,3C)
2964: FIELD STUDY Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
2994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.
3504: PLANT PHYSIOLOGY AND THE BIOTIC ENVIRONMENT Course explores how both agricultural and non-crop plants grow, develop, and respond to biotic environmental influences. Topics include symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms, herbivores, phytoremediation, parasitic plants, and weeds. The scope ranges from biochemical, cellular, tissue, to whole plant physiology. Course includes an experimental project in plant physiology on one of the topics. Pre: (BIOL 1006 or BIOL 2304), CHEM 1036. (3H,3C)
4104: PLANT PATHOLOGY Introduction to plant pathology as a science and a crop protection discipline. Plant disease diagnosis, biology, and identification of plant disease-causing agents, factors leading to disease build-up, and management of plant diseases. Diseases of specific crops are studied as examples to illustrate general principles. Pre: (BIOL 1005 or BIOL 1105), (BIOL 1006 or BIOL 1106). (3H,3L,4C)
4114: MICROBIAL FORENSICS AND BIOSECURITY Concepts of comparative and evolutionary genomics for pathogen characterization and identification taught through case studies of bioterrorism, involuntary and voluntary disease transmission, infectious disease epidemics, and genetically modified organisms; emphasis placed on unambiguous source attribution of a disease outbreak to a particular microbe, risk assessment, response as individual, community, and nation to a bioterrorism attack or disease outbreak, federal biosecurity regulations, and career opportunities. Pre: BIOL 2604, (BIOL 2104 or BIOL 2004). (3H,3C)
4154: PLANT PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS Plant problem diagnosis in the laboratory and field, including recognition of disease, insect and abiotic (nonliving) problems, as well as the major groups of plant pathogens of a variety of regionally important horticultural and agronomic crops. General management options for pests and pathogens. Co: 4104. (2H,3L,3C)
4264 (ENT 4264): PESTICIDE USAGE An interdisciplinary study of pesticides used in urban and agricultural environments. Topics studied will include: classification, toxicology, formulation, application techniques, safety, legal considerations, environmental impact, and research and development of new pesticides. Pre: CHEM 2515 or CHEM 2536. (2H,3L,3C)
4504: FUNDAMENTALS OF PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Fundamental principles of plant physiology (photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, nutrition, translocation, and development) will be integrated with discussion of the relationship between abiotic environmental factors and plant physiological processes. Both agricultural and non-crop plants will be emphasized. Pre: (BIOL 1006 or BIOL 2304), CHEM 1036. (3H,3C)
4604: BIOLOGICAL INVASIONS Broad overview of the causes, consequences, and epidemiology of invasive plants, animals, and microbes. Conceptual, mechanistic, societal, and political components of invasive species from Darwin to modern day, covering the invasion process from introduction to ecological or economic impact. Taxonomy, management, and risk assessment will be covered via case studies, within a policy context. Pre: BIOL 1105, BIOL 1106. (2H,3L,3C)
4754: WEED SCIENCE: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES Weeds and human affairs; costs and losses; emphasis on weed biology, weed identification and weed-crop ecology; agronomic, physiological, and chemical principles underlying prevention, eradication, and control of undesired vegetation; methods of weed control available for modern agronomic, forestry, horticultural, and non-crop situations. Pre: BIOL 2304, CHEM 1036. (2H,3L,3C)
4964: FIELD STUDY Variable credit course.
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.