The botany major provides a broad background in the biology of plants – from the molecular to the organismic level. Students who major in botany will take courses in ecology, genetics, physiology, taxonomy, anatomy, molecular biology of plants and biochemistry.
The botany curriculum focuses on these learning objectives:
- The scientific method and how to formulate a testable hypothesis, design an experiment, and analyze and interpret the results. Foundation course: BOT 2010 or BSC2010. Depth courses: BSC 3911, BSC4936, independent research, Plant ecology, General ecology, Climate change biology
- How structures of molecules/cells/tissues/organs/plants enable life functions. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2011. Depth courses: Essential Cell Biology, Plant physiology, Plant anatomy, Plant ecology, Biochemistry
- How plants grow and develop. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2011, BOT2011. Depth course: Plant anatomy, Plant physiology
- How plants obtain and use matter and energy to live and grow, and how matter is transformed in biogeochemical cycles. Foundation course: BOT2010, BSC2010, BSC2011. Depth courses: Plant physiology, Plant ecology, General ecology
- How plants detect, process, and interpret information from the environment. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2011. Depth course: Plant Physiology, Essential cell biology
- How plants interact with the living and non-living environment. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2011. Depth course: General ecology, Plant ecology, Plant Physiology, Essential Cell Biology
- Why individuals of the same species vary in the way they look and behave and how characteristics of one generation are related to the previous generation. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2010. Depth course: Genetics
- How to use phylogenetic trees to understand and interpret the evidence for relatedness among species. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2011. Depth courses: Practical plant taxonomy, Plant diversity, Local flora
- How the major forces of evolution change allele frequencies in natural or domesticated plant populations. Foundation course: BOT2010 or BSC2010. Depth course: Evolution
- Plant biodiversity. Foundation courses: BSC2011, BOT2011, or Practical plant taxonomy
- Natural history of Florida plants and ecosystems. Foundation courses: Local flora, Plant ecology
- How plants differ from animals and how the sessile life style affects reproduction, growth, development, nutrition, and water use. Foundation courses: BSC2011, BOT2010, BOT2011
- The evidence for the benefits and drawbacks of transgenic plants. Foundation courses: BOT2010, BOT2011, BSC4936
- How plant diversity has changed over the geologic time scale. Foundation courses: BOT2010, BOT2011, Plant ecology
- How plant productivity and the global biogeochemical cycle of carbon regulate climate. Foundation courses: BSC2011, General ecology, Plant ecology, Climate change biology
Present day botany is an exciting, ever-changing, diverse field with many different career opportunities. Because the field is so broad, there are many kinds of plant biologists engaged in a variety of plant biology disciplines, including ecology, systematics, genetics, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, ethnobotany, conservation and biodiversity, anatomy, cell biology, genomics and biotechnology. Botany, indeed, offers something for everyone, which is appropriate given that plants underpin life on our planet.
Today the world is beset with many problems, such as global climate change, world hunger, and the daily loss of tropical rainforests. As the world’s population grows so does the need for more and better food supplies. In addition, air, soil and water pollution increase, and habitats are lost, all of which threaten life. The search for new drugs, medicines, and useful genes continues with exploration in the tropical rainforests of the world. Plant biologists more than ever are in demand to meet these challenges and help to solve these problems. So, if you want an exciting, challenging and satisfying career that will make the world a better place, become a botanist!
Faculty in the Department of Biology at the University of Florida are involved in collaborative research projects from Alaska to the tropical rainforests of the New and Old Worlds. As an undergraduate major you will receive a world-class education from a broad curriculum, and enjoy close working relationships with internationally renowned faculty. In addition to the classroom setting, majors have exciting opportunities to participate in independent research projects in state-of-the-art faculty research laboratories, or research field sites from Alaska to the tropics.