Stern’s Introductory Plant Biology 12th Edition
Book PrefaceStern’s Introductory Plant Biology 12th Edition
Plants and algae are essential for life on earth as it exists today. They provide our world with oxygen and food, contribute an essential part of water and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, provide clothing and shelter, and add beauty to our environment. Some scientists believe that if photosynthetic organisms exist on planets beyond our solar system, it could be possible to sustain other forms of life that depend upon them to survive.
Botany today plays a special role in many interests of both major and nonmajor students. For example, in this text, topics such as global warming, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, genetic engineering, organic gardening, Native American and pioneer uses of plants, pollution and recycling, house plants, backyard vegetable gardening, natural dye plants, poisonous and hallucinogenic plants, nutritional values of edible plants, and many other topics are discussed. To intelligently pursue such topics, one needs to understand how plants are constructed, and how they function. To this end, the text assumes little prior knowledge of the sciences on the part of the student, but covers basic botany, without excessively resorting to technical terms. The coverage, however, includes sufficient depth to prepare students to go further in the field, should they choose to do so.
The text is arranged so that certain sections can be omitted in shorter courses. Such sections may include topics such as soils, molecular genetics, and phylum Bryophyta. Because botany instructors vary greatly in their opinions about the depth of coverage needed for photosynthesis and respiration in an introductory botany course open to both majors and nonmajors, these topics are presented at three different levels. Some instructors will find one or two levels sufficient, whereas others will want to include all three. Both majors in botany and nonmajors who may initially be disinterested in the subject matter of a required course frequently become engrossed if the material is related repeatedly to their popular interests. This is reflected, as intimated above, in the considerable amount of ecology and ethnobotany included with traditional botany throughout the book.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TEXT
A relatively conventional sequence of botanical subjects is followed. Chapters 1 and 2 cover introductory and background information; Chapters 3 through 11 deal with structure and function; Chapters 12 and 13 introduce meiosis and genetics. Chapter 14 discusses plant propagation and biotechnology; Chapter 15 introduces evolution; Chapter 16 deals with classification; Chapters 17 through 23 stress, in phylogenetic sequence, the diversity of organisms traditionally regarded as plants; and Chapter 24 deals with ethnobotanical aspects and other information of general interest pertaining to 16 major plant families or groups of families. Chapters 25 and 26 present an overview of the vast topic of ecology, although ecological topics and applied botany are included in the preceding chapters as well. Some of these topics are broached in anecdotes that introduce the chapters, while others are mentioned in the ecological review summaries, in the human and ecological review sections, and in the extensive appendices.
A chapter outline, review questions, discussion questions, and additional reading lists are provided for each chapter. New terms are defined as they are introduced, and those that are boldfaced are included, with their pronunciation, in a glossary. A list of the scientific names of all organisms mentioned throughout the text is given in Appendix 1. Appendix 2 deals with biological controls and companion planting. Appendix 3 includes wild edible plants, poisonous plants, medicinal plants, hallucinogenic plants, spices, tropical fruits, and natural dye plants. Appendix 4 gives horticultural information on house plants, along with brief discussions on how to cultivate vegetables. Nutritional values of the vegetables are included. Appendix 5 covers metric equivalents and conversion tables.
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