The point of view and the methods of study first advanced in "Research Methods in Ecology" have proved so satisfactory in teaching as to make it desirable to embody them in a text-book. The present text has been based largely upon "Research Methods," though most of the matter is new or rewritten. The manner of treatment is essentially the same, but the subject-matter has been rearranged and broken up into a larger number of chapters. The plant is first considered as an individual, with respect to factor, function, and form, and then as a member of a plant group or formation.
The reasons for regarding ecology and physiology as essentially the same have been given elsewhere, and need not be repeated here. An endeavor has been made to give the various parts of this vast field their proper importance. Since ecology and physiology are merged, it is manifestly impossible to give to either what would be regarded as a complete treatment by a specialist in either line. No attempt has been made to touch all the points in each, but it is thought that nothing really fundamental has been omitted.
The book is intended for use with classes in second-year botany in college and university. In manuscript form, it has been in such use for two years with good results. Although the amount of laboratory and field work is large, it is possible to accomplish all of it in a course requiring 6-8 hours of laboratory time each week. This can be done only by careful planning on the art of both instructor and student, and for this reason the following suggestions are offered as aids.
The instructor will find it imperative to plan in advance for the experiments for the whole year, in order that plants may be ready as needed. Seeds and fruits for the study of migration should be collected in the fall.
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