Botany is defined as the study of scientific study plants. Plants vary from a wide range of living organisms such as bacteria to the giant sequoia trees. By this criteria, plants include algae, lichens, ferns, fungi, mosses and plants that flower.
Scope and importance
Study of plants is equally important because it covers almost all animal life on Earth by generating a large proportion of oxygen that provides us and other organisms with aerobic respiration with the chemical energy that is essential to be alive. Cyanobacteria and Algae are the major groups of organisms that perform photosynthesis, which is a process that consumes the energy of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar that can be utilized both as a source of chemical energy and organic molecules that exist in structural components of cells. Plants liberate oxygen into the atmosphere as a by-product of photosynthesis, which is needed by all living things for cellular respiration. Also, they influence the global carbon, water cycles, and plant roots stabilize soils, that prevents soil erosion.
All living things were organized as plants or animals previously, and botany encompasses the study of all organisms and does not include animals. Botanists test both the internal functions and processes within the organelles of plants, tissues and plants communities. At every level, botanists are concerned with the classification, evolution, phylogeny or function of plant life.
The most precise definition of ‘plant’ involves land plants or embryophytes that include seed plants such as pines and flowering plants, and the free-sporing cryptogams involve mosses, ferns, clubmosses, and hornworts. Embryophytes are multicellular eukaryotes originating from an ancestor that gains its energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Their life cycles are with alternating haploid and diploid phases. The embryophytes phase of sexual haploid is called gametophyte. It nourishes the developing diploid embryo sporophytes in the tissues in the seed plants, where gametophyte is nourished by its parent sporophyte. Other groups of organisms that were studied by botanists involve bacteria, fungi( including lichen generating fungi, and non-chlorophyte algae) and viruses. However, stress is still given to these fungi and photosynthetic protists that are usually covered in introductory courses.
Plant biochemistry is defined as the study of chemical process used by plants. Some of these processes are utilized in their primary metabolisms such as photosynthetic Calvin cycle and crassulacean acid metabolism. Others produce special substances like lignin and cellulose that is utilized to build their bodies and secondary products such as aroma compounds.
Various other groups of photosynthetic eukaryotes are collectively called as algae that have special organelles such as chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are originated from cyanobacteria that produced endosymbiotic relationships with ancient plants. Cyanobacteria and Chloroplasts consist of blue-green pigment called chlorophyll a. It absorbs light in the orange-red and blue-violet parts of the spectrum while reflecting and transmitting the green light that view as the characteristic color of these organisms.
Plants, climate and environmental change
The plant responses towards the climate and environmental changes indicate how these changes affect the functions of ecosystem and productivity. For example, plant phenology can be an important proxy for temperature, and the biological impact of climate change. The analysis of fossil resides in the sediments from thousands of years ago allows the reconstruction of past climates. Ozone depletion can expose plants to high ultraviolet rays that result in lower growth rates. Moreover, knowledge of community ecology and taxonomy is vital to understand habitat destruction and species extinction.
There are ‘n’ types of plants available to botanists, since this field is so broad. Botanists that are interested in ecology of plant interactions with other organisms and environment. Botanists of other fields search to find new species or perform experiments to discover the growth of plants under varied condition. Some use microscopes to study detailed structure of every cell. Botanists study processes that takes place on a time scale ranging from fraction of second in individual cells to those that uncover eons of evolutionary time.