Plants are essential to the existence of humans and other animals on our planet. They are the source of many of the things we depend on - the oxygen we breathe, food we eat, fibre for clothing and shelter and chemicals for pharmaceuticals and industry. Plants are a fundamental part of all ecosystems, helping to provide clean water, healthy soils and habitat for wildlife. Studying plant sciences helps us understand how plants survive in their environment and provide these benefits for us.
What will you study?
You will learn about fundamental biology, plant biochemistry, plant physiology and development, genetics, ecology, mycology, crop production and protection, and environmental and food chemistry. In addition, you can study related topics such as soil science, postharvest technology, agronomy and cellular biology in associated teaching programs offered by the faculties of science and agriculture, food and natural resources.
What do plant scientists do?
The careers available in the area of plant sciences are plentiful. Much of the Australian economy and the economies of many of our regional neighbours depends on agricultural and plant breeding industries. Plant scientists may find themselves working with farmers as consultants, managing properties or working in laboratories to develop more robust crops. They also work on crop modeling and climate change.
Cellular and molecular biologists and plant physiologists investigate the basic mechanisms of plant growth, development and function. Geneticists study the action of plant genes and apply this knowledge to breeding new varieties of crop and ornamental plants. Ecologists examine the dynamics of diverse populations of plants in natural and managed ecosystems, as well as the interactions of plants with other organisms.
Taxonomists provide the basic classification of plants into identifiable groups and increasingly work with molecular biologists to understand the genetic reasons for these groupings and trace the evolution of plants.
Agricultural and horticultural scientists develop better and sustainable ways to manage plants for production of food, pastures, and ornamental purposes.