Botanical Society of America

Areas of Specialization in Botany

PLANT BIOLOGY SPECIALTIES

ANATOMY - microscopic plant structure (cells and tissues).

BIOCHEMISTRY - chemical aspects of plant life processes. Includes the chemical products of plants (PHYTOCHEMISTRY).


BIOPHYSICS - application of physics to plant life processes.

CYTOLOGY - structure, function, and life history of plant cells.

ECOLOGY - relationships between plants and the world in which they live, both individually and in communities.

GENETICS - plant heredity and variation. Plant geneticists study genes and gene function in plants.


MOLECULAR BIOLOGY - structure and function of biological macromolecules, including biochemical and molecular aspects of genetics.

MORPHOLOGY - macroscopic plant form. Morphologists also study the evolution and development of leaves, roots and stems.

PALEOBOTANY - biology and evolution of fossil plants.

PHYSIOLOGY - functions and vital processes of plants. Photosynthesis and mineral nutrition are two exampIes of subjects studied by plant physiologists.

SYSTEMATICS - evolutionary history and relationships among plants.

SYSTEMS ECOLOGY
, uses mathematical models to demonstrate concepts like nutrient cycling.
TAXONOMY is the subdiscipline of identifying, naming, and classifying plants.

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APPLIED PLANT SCIENCES

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

BIOTECHNOLOGY - 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.

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

ECONOMIC BOTANY - plants with commercial importance. Economic botany includes the study of botany harmful and beneficial plants and plant products.

FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - development of food from vanous plant products.

FORESTRY - forest management for the production of timber, and conservation.

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

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT - the responsible use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of society.

PLANT PATHOLOGY -diseases of plants. Plant pathologists are concerned with both the biological aspects of disease and with disease management, or control.

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OTHER SPECIALTIES

EDUCATION - providing knowledge and insight about plants, plant biology, and the crucial ecological roles of plants. Includes teaching in schools, museums and botanical gardens, development of educational materials, and science writing.

EXPLORATION - search for new, undiscovered plants.

HISTORY - development of botany as a scientific discipline.

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ORGANISMAL SPECIALTIES

BRYOLOGY - the study of mosses and similar plants. Bryologists study all aspects of these plants, including their identification, classification, and ecology.

LICHENOLOGY - the biology of lichens, dual organisms composed of both a fungus and an alga.

MYCOLOGY - the biology of fungi. 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.


MICROBIOLOGY - the study of microorganisms. Microbiologists may be specialized by organism (for example, microbiologists that study bacteria) of by a branch of biology (for example, MICROBIAL ECOLOGY).

PTERlDOLOGY - the study of ferns and similar plants. Pteridologists study all aspects of fem biology.


PHYCOLOGY - the study of algae, which are the base of the food chain in the aquatic environments of the world. Phycologists that study algae in oceans are sometimes called MARINE BOTANISTS.

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