In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .
The School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) was created in June 2015 by bringing together five departments within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences under one administrative home. Its vision is “Discovery that connects: new insights for better plants, sustainably grown, serving the world.” In the coming decades, the world must arrive at solutions to the major challenges of feeding a burgeoning population, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and preserving biodiversity and essential ecosystem functions. Plants underpin all agricultural and natural ecosystems and environmental impacts on plant systems will cascade at local, regional, national, and international scales. But plants will also be the basis for solutions. Innovative approaches and revolutionary breakthroughs in plant sciences will be used to meet these challenges and help secure a sustainable future for coming generations.
To that end, the five sections in SIPS offer courses that support several undergraduate programs in CALS, but especially Plant Sciences.
Horticulture, derived from the Latin word “hortus,” meaning garden, is a blend of science and culture involving knowledge of plants grown on farms and in gardens, parks, and athletic and recreational facilities; indoor plants; greenhouse and nursery plant production; and crops used for consumption and medicinal purposes. The knowledge and skills essential to grow, maintain, process, and market horticultural plants are in high demand in a world increasingly concerned with environmental quality, recreation, and health. The 40-plus faculty members in horticulture facilitate active research and outreach programs at the regional, national, and international levels.
Plant biology stresses a basic understanding of how plants function, grow, and develop, as well as a study of their genome, evolution, and relationships to humans. It provides undergraduates with a thorough preparation for graduate study in addition to exciting practical careers in plant sciences.
Plant breeding and genetics relates information about genetics/genomics of plants to the improvement of cultivated plant species. Agriculturally important genes are identified, characterized, and deployed through combinations of molecular studies and sexual crosses. This area of study integrates genetic information with plant physiology/biochemistry, plant pathology, entomology, conservation biology, international agriculture, and related areas to create crops that meet the needs of modern society. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects and take advantage of opportunities for internships in industry.
Plant pathology and plant-microbe biology faculty study interactions of plants with pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms. Some specialists in the field choose to focus their attention on the cause and management of plant diseases and others employ contemporary tools of molecular biology to answer fundamental questions about the nature of host-pathogen interactions. Working together, they advance the frontiers of science to ensure rapid deployment of new strategies for growing healthy crops with maximum yields and minimal impacts on the surrounding environment.
Soil and crop sciences provides instruction in the subject matter areas of crop science, soil science, environmental information science, and agronomy. The section addresses the challenge of developing environmentally sustainable agricultural systems to produce food for a world population that is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. It provides expertise to mitigate the impact of climate change and to develop the potential of sustainable biofuel crops. Research on nutrient and carbon fluxes in ecosystems helps increase nutrient use efficiency, improve soil health and solve greenhouse-gas issues.
For more information, visit plantscience.cals.cornell.edu.