Chapter 1 – Introduction

For learning crop science concepts and practices, a guided trip to the field is an invaluable addition to what is learned in lectures or readings. But sometimes an in-person tour is not practical or even possible. For online courses, students may be spread across the country or the globe. Students taking a crop science course in one season would not be able to see relevant growth stages that occur in other seasons. Additionally, transporting students to the field can be expensive both in the time required and in funding for vehicle rental. Finally, not all crop science instructors have access to a conveniently located research farm or the resources to plant and manage a demonstration plot. A virtual field tour can help address those constraints.

This tour is designed as a supplemental learning resource for introductory crop science and plant breeding courses. It may also be relevant to other agriculture and biology courses, and more broadly to viewers interested in learning more about the crops we depend on.

Learning Objectives

Students who complete the virtual tour will be able to:

  • Describe the changes that accompanied the domestication of selected crops from their wild ancestral species.
  • Explain the importance of wild and landrace germplasm in plant breeding programs.
  • Identify the diversity in morphology and uses of the crops and crop families discussed in the videos.
  • Describe legume nodulation and the process of nitrogen fixation.
  • Distinguish the plant breeding concepts of hybrid vigor (heterosis) and recurrent selection.

This tour was recorded at Colorado State University’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center near Fort Collins, Colorado near the end of the growing season.

To begin the tour, either click below to go to the next chapter discussing crop domestication or open the table of contents at the top of this page to select the next chapter you wish to view.


Crop Diversity: A Virtual Crop Science Field Tour Copyright © 2021 by Patrick F. Byrne; Meagan Schipanski; and Deana Namuth-Covert. All Rights Reserved.

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