Instructor: Professor I. Ensminger (ingo.ensminger@utoronto.ca)

Offered: 2022 Fall (middle of term) for six weeks.  Wednesday mornings (Time TBD). Coordination meeting and assignment of topics during first week of October, room and time TBD. Coordination meeting will be online, if majority of students prefers an online format during the coordination meeting, the entire module can be delivered as a synchronous course via zoom.

Enrolment: Limited to 10 students

Weight: One module (0.25 FCE)

Description: Climate change is impacting the yield of cultivated plants for food production, is impacting growth of trees and is causing large-scale tree mortality putting natural and managed forests at the risk of extinction. This seminar-based grad module will focus on high throughput plant phenotyping and phenomics approaches and methods for monitoring vegetation dynamics, which are aimed at assessing morpho-physiological and physico-chemical traits to understand heat and drought tolerance of plants. The use of phenotyping and phenomics approaches will help understand the performance of a genotype or a species in a given environment.

Evaluation: Student evaluation is based on i) Seminar – A PowerPoint style presentation (each student) based on a primary research paper. Presentation dates and papers will be assigned at the coordination meeting; students are expected to read all papers presented during the module and participate in all discussions. ii) News & Views paper – Students will be required to write a “news and views” paper on their presentation topic or another of their choosing. iii) Participation and contribution to discussion

Seminar: 30 min presentation and 30 min for discussion                               40%

News & Views paper:                                                                                     40%

Participation in Discussion: 2 students assigned as discussion leaders      20%

Seminar Grading:

  • Verbal clarity and understanding of subject matter (10%)
  • Critical thinking and ability to answer questions (10%)
  • Slide quality and effectiveness                            (10%)
  • Scientific content and appropriateness (10%)

Content and Format

Seminars and Papers should not focus on the students own work. Critical reviews are encouraged, but comments must be accurate and well-reasoned. In general, seminar presentations and papers should have three components:

  • a short overview of the background of the reviewed paper
  • a critical data-based review of the key findings
  • a brief summary of the significance of the paper

*The seminar must offer more than a summary of what was stated in the original article. For example, it might provide a more in-depth explanation of a new technique used in the paper, important caveats or interpretations that the author did not mention, or a distinct interpretation of the results in the context of work that the author did not discuss (e.g., important findings published in the last couple of months). Focus should be on the most important results – there is rarely reason to discuss every figure.

*Seminars and papers must be concise. The length of the paper is limited to about 1500 words. References are limited to approximately 7.

*Papers should be written in a style that is understandable to all participants in the course. *Avoid using jargon and unnecessary abbreviations.

*Titles should be informative; no word play.

*The paper can use up to two schematic or explanatory figures. The figure caption must appear in the main document, after the references. Do not duplicate figures that were in the reviewed paper –links to any figures you cite can be placed in the paper. In the text, refer to the cited figures with the author’s name, e.g., “(Author et al., Figure 1A)”.

Include a title page in your paper and include: Course title, citation of article being reviewed, author (student) affiliation (university/research institute etc.; for graduate students, the affiliation should be listed as the Graduate Program or Department), author’s contact information (address, phone, and email address), abbreviated title, keywords (a minimum of six), and acknowledgments (optional).

Pre-requisites: None

Reading materials: TBD at the beginning of the module

Website: Will use Quercus

Last updated on October 21st, 2022