Insect-Plant Interactions

Type: Posgtgraduate course / Elective
Specialisation: Plant Sciences and Environment
Course coordinator: Maria L. Pappas
Semester: 2
ECTS: 7.5
Teaching Staff: M. Pappas, G. Broufas and invited lecturers

Tel: +30 25520 41151 / 25520 41154

Working hours with students: upon request (via email)

Course description:
The course covers topics on the ecology and evolution of insect – plant interactions such as the ways plants recognize herbivores and defend themselves against them, with particular emphasis on mechanisms of plant resistance to herbivory. Furthermore, it covers the ways beneficial insects (pollinators and natural enemies) are attracted to plants. The ecological and evolutionary implications of insect-plant coevolution are analyzed through the presentation of significant case studies (case studies). The ecological effects of insect – plant interactions are studied at the community level. Finally, reference is made to the applied aspects of studies on insect – plant interactions in plant protection.

Course webpage:
Course e-class:

Only registered users have access to the course material (lecture notes, course papers, announcements etc). The relevant material is available in the file “Documents” of each year’s User Group.

Course books*:
– L.M. Schoonhoven, J.J.A. van Loon & M. Dicke (2005) Insect-Plant Biology. Oxford University Press. 421 p.
– Α. Schaller (2010) Induced Plant Resistance to Herbivory. Springer. Berlin. 462 p.
– Voelckel C. & G. Jander (2014) Insect-Plant Interactions. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
*Additional literature sources are available to students through e-class.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the course the students will be able to understand:
– the basic principles underlying insect – plant interactions
– the effects of insect – plant interactions at the organism and population level
– the practical implications of these effects and the ways they can be applied in plant protection

– Written exams at the end of the semester
– Literature review assignment

Final grade (1+2):
1. Written test: 7/10
2. Review assignment: weighing 3/10

Weekly course schedule Week Topic Staff

Introduction to insect-plant interactions, importance, general definitions.
Plant characteristics that shape insect – plant relationships (chemical traits)
Plant characteristics that shape insect – plant relationships (morphological traits)
Plants as insect food source (nutrients, utilization, symbiotic microorganisms)
Host plant selection by herbivores
Plant defense against herbivores (I)
Plant defense against herbivores (II)
Ecology of insect-plant interactions
Evolution of insect-plant interactions
Beneficial insects (pollinators, natural enemies) in insect-plant interactions
Experimental protocols in insect-plant interactions studies (I)
Experimental protocols in insect-plant interactions studies (II)
Applied aspects of insect-plant interactions studies

Literature review & oral presentation

Written exams

Crop Physiology

Crop Physiology

Type: Graduate course / Elective course

Division: Plant Science and Environment

Coordinator: Christos Damalas

Semester: 2nd

ECTS: 7.5

Instructors: Christos Damalas / Spyridon Koutroubas


Telephone: 25520 41116 / 25520 41125


Cooperation with students: after contact (via email)

Course description:

Physiological processes that determinate yield performance of crops. Canopy architecture, leaf area index, and light efficiency use. Crop physiology, yield components, and yield determinants. Weed-crop competition. Chemical and alternative methods of weed control. Dry matter production and accumulation of nutrients. Translocation of assimilates.

Production and consumption centers of assimilates (sink-source relationships). Water use efficiency and resistance mechanisms of plants to water stress.

Suggested textbooks:

(The following titles are offered by the library of our Department)

  • Weiss E.A. (2000): Oilseed Crops, 2nd edn. Blackwell Science, London,
  • Bavec F. and M. Bavec. (2006): Organic Production and Use of Alternative Crops, CRC Press, London,
  • Gunstone F.D. (2004): Rapeseed and canola oil: Production, Processing, Properties and Uses, CRC Press, London,

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Recommend appropriate management approaches for increasing productivity and improving economic efficiency of crops

Evaluation methods:

  • Written / oral exams at the end of the semester


Tentative schedule of classes for the course Crop Physiology’


Class topic


1st Introduction. Physiological processes that determinate yield performance of field crops S. Koutroubas C. Damalas
2nd Effect of canopy architecture on yield of field crops S. Koutroubas
3rd Crop physiology, yield components, and yield formation C. Damalas
4th Redistribution of assimilates and nutrients. Relationships between centers of production and consumption of assimilates (source-sink theory) S. Koutroubas
5th Grain yield formation in field crops: case studies S. Koutroubas
6th Simulation models of grain filling in major field crops S. Koutroubas
7th Effect of climate change on growth, development and yield of crops C. Damalas
8th Mechanisms of adaptation of crops to abiotic stress conditions C. Damalas
9th The role of plant nutrition in crop yield formation. Inorganic and organic fertilization S. Koutroubas
10th Physiology of nitrogen fixation by legumes plants. Methods of quantitative evaluation S. Koutroubas
11th Sustainable cropping systems in major fields crops C. Damalas
12th Influence of long term monocropping on crop yield and agroecosystems’ traits C. Damalas
13th Influence of weed competition on crop yield. Methods of quantitative evaluation C. Damalas
14th Written exams