This masters degree aims to provide students with a general understanding of research and professional practice in the field of agrobiology and forest biology and the environmental impact of these activities. Students will acquire scientific, technical and professional training in areas such as plant physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and ecology, focusing on their relation to agriculture and the environment, and develop advanced scientific and professional skills applicable to the environmental aspects of agrobiology and forest biology.
The course will give students a general and multidisciplinary understanding of plant biology and adaptive responses to factors such as climate, soil composition and the presence of pathogens, with the broad aim of improving the production and quality of plants and plant-derived products.
- Capacity to apply the knowledge acquired and to solve problems in new or unfamiliar areas within broader disciplinary settings related to the function of crops and their interaction with the environment.
- Capacity to integrate knowledge from other disciplines and perform the complex task of making judgements on the basis of incomplete or limited information that nonetheless requires consideration of social and ethical responsibilities.
- Capacity to transmit conclusions, and the information and reasons that justify them, to specialized and non-specialized audiences in a clear and unambiguous manner.
- Capacity to develop the learning skills acquired to facilitate further learning requiring a more independent and self-directed approach.
- Capacity to plan and carry out research tasks and/or professional-level R&D activities.
- Capacity to display critical abilities in interpreting results.
- Understanding of the biological, chemical and physical interactions between plants, the soil and the atmosphere and capacity to assess the availability of nutrients according to soil properties and to identify nutrient deficiencies in plants through the study of symptoms and analysis of tissue samples.
- Capacity to develop strategies for modifying plant metabolism to achieve quantitative and qualitative improvements in crop yield and to obtain plants suitable for use in food products, pharmaceutical products and industrial processes.
- Knowledge of the relationship between production, fertilization and environmental impact and of the importance of biological nitrogen fixation in current agricultural practices.
- Knowledge of the effects of endogenous regulations and environmental parameters on plant development and the interactions involved and capacity to apply this knowledge to adapt and improve crops.
- Capacity to determine the most suitable type of plant reproduction for specific crops and applications, based on evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each reproductive strategy.
- Capacity to apply the latest technologies for the control and manipulation of plant reproduction and metabolism, including
in vitro cultivation and the growth and application of transgenic crops
- Capacity to plan and conduct experiments in different agricultural settings (field, greenhouse and
in vitro) and to implement a systematic approach for solving specific problems: definition, measurement, analysis, improvement and monitoring.
- Multi-disciplinary understanding of physiological plant responses to biotic and abiotic stress and the methodological processes for improving plant stress responses.
- Ability to diagnose and evaluate types and levels of biotic and abiotic stress in plants and understanding of the aetiology of the principal plant diseases, particularly those affecting crops with a high value to the economy.
- Basic understanding of chemical, biological and integrated methods for plant disease management and control.
- Capacity to grade contamination caused by the presence of heavy metals and organic compounds in water and soils, and understanding of the potential use of vascular plants in the remediation of such cases and in the application of control measures.
- Understanding of the effects of the principal environmental agents on physiological processes in plants, the adaptation mechanisms used in response, the effects of climate change on plants in agricultural and/or natural systems and their bearing on the future of agriculture.
- Understanding of the influence of soil dynamics on physiological processes in plants and land ecosystems and knowledge of techniques for soil conservation, correction and recuperation and their sustainable use in agricultural systems.
- Ability to use standard instruments and advanced methodologies for the study and management of plants, including remote sensors, data analysis, integration of data into geographic information systems and multi-temporal analysis techniques.
- Basic understanding of the workings of agricultural facilities through analysis of installation design, management, legislation and viability.
Students must successfully complete the 60 ECTS credits of the masters degree course to be eligible for the doctoral program. Students who intend to apply for a place on the doctoral program on completion of the masters degree are advised to select the research pathway.
Lines of research
- Ecophysiology of Mediterranean crops.
- Plant physiology in relation to the environment.
- Plant-soil interactions: Application to production, plant health, forest fires, restoration of degraded ecosystems and global change.
- Mechanisms of resistance of Mediterranean plants to drought: function of reactive oxygen species, antioxidants and hormones.