Plants cannot easily escape their environments. This simple fact provides constant challenges for plant survival and has shaped many fundamental aspects of plant biology. The common lack of escape, in time or space, is reflected in exciting features of plant chemistry and plant ecology. Plants use a plethora of chemicals to interact with their environment. For example, plants use fragrant chemicals to attract pollinators or toxins to defend herbivores. The course emphasizes on old and new concepts of plants interacting with components of a complex biotic environment, including their “friends” and potential “enemies”. A broad range of examples of plants using chemicals to interact with their environment will be discussed and analyzed during a mandatory companion course Biol 462 (Ecological Plant Biochemistry). In the “Current Topics Botany 528” course students will select a topic of their interest and develop, with guidance from their instructor, a detailed proposal for a future research project of their choice in chemical ecology.