Plant Science Descriptions

PLANT SCIENCE

Plant Science minor

A minor in Plant Science requires 36 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units

Units of study

The units of study are listed below.

1000-level units of study

Core
BIOL1006 Life and Evolution

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Matthew Pye Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two lectures per week; 11 x 3-hour lab classes; 2 field excursions. Prohibitions: BIOL1001 or BIOL1911 or BIOL1991 or BIOL1906 or BIOL1996 Assumed knowledge: HSC Biology. Students who have not completed HSC Biology (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Biology Bridging Course (offered in February). Assessment: Writing task (10%), laboratory report (25%), laboratory notebook (10%), during semester tests and quizzes (15%), final exam (40%) Practical field work: 11 x 3-hour lab classes, 2 field excursions Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Biology is an immensely diverse science. Biologists study life at all levels, from the fundamental building blocks (genes, proteins) to whole ecosystems in which myriads of species interact. Evolution is the unifying concept that runs through the life sciences, from the origin and diversification of life to understanding behaviour, to dealing with disease. Evolution through natural selection is the framework in biology in which specific details make sense. This unit explores how new species continue to arise while others go extinct and discusses the role of mutations as the raw material on which selection acts. It explains how information is transferred between generations through DNA, RNA and proteins, transformations which affect all aspects of biological form and function. Science builds and organises knowledge of life and evolution in the form of testable hypotheses. You will participate in inquiry-led practical classes investigating single-celled organisms and the diversity of form and function in plants and animals. By doing this unit of study, you will develop the ability to examine novel biological systems and understand the complex processes that have shaped those systems.
Textbooks
Knox, B., Ladiges, P.Y., Evans, B.K., Saint, R. (2014) Biology: an Australian focus, 5e, McGraw-Hill education, North Ryde, N.S.W
BIOL1906 Life and Evolution (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Matthew Pye Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two lectures per week; 11 x 3-hour lab classes; 3 field excursions Prohibitions: BIOL1001 or BIOL1911 or BIOL1991 or BIOL1006 or BIOL1996 Assumed knowledge: 85 or above in HSC Biology or equivalent. Assessment: Writing task (10%), laboratory report (25%), laboratory notebook (10%), during semester tests and quizzes (15%), final exam (40%) Practical field work: 11 x 3-hour lab classes, 3 field excursions Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Biology is an immensely diverse science. Biologists study life at all levels, from the fundamental building blocks (genes, proteins) to whole ecosystems in which myriads of species interact. Evolution is the unifying concept that runs through the life sciences, from the origin and diversification of life to understanding behaviour, to dealing with disease. Evolution through natural selection is the framework in biology in which specific details make sense. This unit explores how new species continue to arise while others go extinct and discusses the role of mutations as the raw material on which selection acts. It explains how information is transferred between generations through DNA, RNA and proteins, transformations which affect all aspects of biological form and function. Science builds and organises knowledge of life and evolution in the form of testable hypotheses. You will participate in inquiry-led practical classes investigating single-celled organisms and the diversity of form and function in plants and animals.
Life and Evolution (Advanced) has the same overall structure as BIOL1006 but material is discussed in greater detail and at a more advanced level. Students enrolled in BIOL1906 participate in an authentic urban biodiversity management research project with a focus on developing skills in critical evaluation, experimental design, data analysis and communication.
Textbooks
Knox, B., Ladiges, P.Y., Evans, B.K., Saint, R. (2014) Biology: an Australian focus, 5e, McGraw-Hill education, North Ryde, N.S.W
BIOL1996 Life and Evolution (SSP)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Mark de Bruyn Session: Semester 1 Classes: Lectures as per BIOL1906; one 3-hour practical per week Prohibitions: BIOL1001 or BIOL1911 or BIOL1991 or BIOL1006 or BIOL1906 or BIOL1993 or BIOL1998 Assumed knowledge: 90 or above in HSC Biology or equivalent Assessment: One 2-hour exam (50%), practical reports (25%), seminar presentation (15%), lab note book (5%), prelaboratory quizzes (5%) Practical field work: null Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Biology is an immensely diverse science. Biologists study life at all levels, from the fundamental building blocks (genes, and proteins) to whole ecosystems in which myriad species interact. Evolution is the unifying concept that runs through the life sciences, from the origin and diversification of life to understanding behaviour, to dealing with disease. Evolution through natural selection is the framework in biology in which specific details make sense. Science builds and organises knowledge of life and evolution in the form of testable hypotheses. The practical work syllabus for BIOL1996 is different from that of BIOL1906 (Advanced) and consists of a special project-based laboratory.
Textbooks
Please see unit outline on LMS
BIOL1007 From Molecules to Ecosystems

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Osu Lilje Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2-3 lectures per week and online material and 12 x 3-hour practicals Prohibitions: BIOL1907 or BIOL1997 Assumed knowledge: HSC Biology. Students who have not completed HSC Biology (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Biology Bridging Course (offered in February). Assessment: quizzes (15%), communication assessments (35%), proficiency assessment (10%), final exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Paradigm shifts in biology have changed the emphasis from single biomolecule studies to complex systems of biomolecules, cells and their interrelationships in ecosystems of life. Such an integrated understanding of cells, biomolecules and ecosystems is key to innovations in biology. Life relies on organisation, communication, responsiveness and regulation at every level. Understanding biological mechanisms, improving human health and addressing the impact of human activity are the great challenges of the 21st century. This unit will investigate life at levels ranging from cells, and biomolecule ecosystems, through to complex natural and human ecosystems. You will explore the importance of homeostasis in health and the triggers that lead to disease and death. You will learn the methods of cellular, biomolecular, microbial and ecological investigation that allow us to understand life and discover how expanding tools have improved our capacity to manage and intervene in ecosystems for our own health and organisms in the environment that surround and support us . You will participate in inquiry-led practicals that reinforce the concepts in the unit. By doing this unit you will develop knowledge and skills that will enable you to play a role in finding global solutions that will impact our lives.
Textbooks
Please see unit outline on LMS
BIOL1907 From Molecules to Ecosystems (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Claudia Keitel Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2-3 lectures per week and online material and 12 x 3-hour practicals Prohibitions: BIOL1007 or BIOL1997 Assumed knowledge: 85 or above in HSC Biology or equivalent Assessment: quizzes (14%), communication assessments (36%), proficiency assessment (10%), final exam (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Paradigm shifts in biology have changed the emphasis from single biomolecule studies to complex systems of biomolecules, cells and their interrelationships in ecosystems of life. Such an integrated understanding of cells, biomolecules and ecosystems is key to innovations in biology. Life relies on organisation, communication, responsiveness and regulation at every level. Understanding biological mechanisms, improving human health and addressing the impact of human activity are the great challenges of the 21st century. This unit will investigate life at levels ranging from cells, and biomolecule ecosystems, through to complex natural and human ecosystems. You will explore the importance of homeostasis in health and the triggers that lead to disease and death. You will learn the methods of cellular, biomolecular, microbial and ecological investigation that allow us to understand life and discover how expanding tools have improved our capacity to manage and intervene in ecosystems for our own health and organisms in the environment that surround and support us . This unit of study has the same overall structure as BIOL1007 but material is discussed in greater detail and at a more advanced level. The content and nature of these components may vary from year to year.
Textbooks
Please see unit outline on LMS
BIOL1997 From Molecules to Ecosystems (SSP)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Emma Thompson Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2-3 lectures per week; online material; and 12 x 3-hour practicals Prohibitions: BIOL1007 or BIOL1907 Assumed knowledge: 90 or above in HSC Biology or equivalent Assessment: One 2-hour exam (40%), project report which includes written report and presentation (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Paradigm shifts in biology have changed the emphasis from single biomolecule studies to complex systems of biomolecules, cells and their interrelationships in ecosystems of life. Such an integrated understanding of cells, biomolecules and ecosystems is key to innovations in biology. Life relies on organisation, communication, responsiveness and regulation at every level. Understanding biological mechanisms, improving human health and addressing the impact of human activity are the great challenges of the 21st century. This unit will investigate life at levels ranging from cells, and biomolecule ecosystems, through to complex natural and human ecosystems. You will explore the importance of homeostasis in health and the triggers that lead to disease and death. You will learn the methods of cellular, biomolecular, microbial and ecological investigation that allow us to understand life and intervene in ecosystems to improve health. The same theory will be covered as in the advanced stream but in this Special Studies Unit, the practical component is a research project. The research will be a synthetic biology project investigating genetically engineered organisms. Students will have the opportunity to develop higher level generic skills in computing, communication, critical analysis, problem solving, data analysis and experimental design.
Textbooks
Please see unit outline on LMS

2000-level units of study

Core
BIOL2030 Botany

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Rosanne Quinnell Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1-hour lecture/week; one 3-hour practical/week; a series of five 1-hour tutorial/week in the latter part of the semester Prohibitions: BIOL2023 or BIOL2923 or PLNT2001 or PLNT2901 or PLNT2002 or PLNT2902 or PLNT2003 or PLNT2903 or BIOL2930 Assumed knowledge: Knowledge of concepts and skills in BIOL1XX6. Assessment: Online quizzes (15%), anatomy project report and presentation (20%), practical exam (30%), theory exam (35%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
We are surrounded by plants, and rely on them every day for our wellbeing. Ecologists use botanical knowledge to help manage marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and public health and land management professionals depend on their understanding of plant science to help solve environmental problems and to enhance biosecurity. Botany aims to increase and improve our supply of medicines, foods, and other plant products, and is critical for anyone interested in contributing to the sustainable future of our planet. In this unit, you will explore the origins, diversity, and global significance of plants. You will gain insights into the micro- and macro-evolutionary processes and patterns behind how plants moved from aquatic ecosystems to terrestrial ecosystems. Integrated lectures, practical classes, and extensive online resources will allow you to develop and integrate practical skills and conceptual frame works in plant identification, plant physiology, plant anatomy, and plant morphology. Lectures and practical classes are augmented by self-instructional audio-visual sessions and by small group discussions to foster a sense of self-reliance and collaboration. Successful completion of Botany will allow you to contribute to a range of disciplines including: ecology, bioinformatics, molecular and cell biology, genetics and biotechnology, environmental law, agriculture, education and the arts.
Textbooks
Evert RF and Eichhorn SE. 2013. Raven: Biology of Plants. 8th Ed. Freeman and Co Publishers. New York. NY.
BIOL2930 Botany (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Rosanne Quinnell Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1-hour lectures/week; one 3-hour practical/week; a series of five 1-hour tutorial/week in the latter part of the semester Prerequisites: Annual average mark of at least 70 in previous year Prohibitions: BIOL2023 or BIOL2923 or AGEN2001 or PLNT2001 or PLNT2901 or PLNT2002 or PLNT2902 or PLNT2003 or PLNT2903 or AGEN2005 or BIOL2030 Assumed knowledge: Knowledge of concepts and skills in BIOL1XX6. Assessment: Online quizzes (15%), advanced project report (20%), practical exam (30%), theory exam (35%) Practical field work: null Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
We are surrounded by plants, and rely on them every day for our wellbeing. Ecologists use botanical knowledge to help manage marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and public health and land management professionals depend on their understanding of plant science to help solve environmental problems and to inform biosecurity. Botany aims to increase and improve our supply of medicines, foods, and other plant products, and is critical for anyone interested in contributing to the sustainable future of our planet. In this unit, you will explore the origins, diversity, and global significance of plants. You will gain insights into the micro- and macro-evolutionary processes and patterns behind how plants moved from aquatic ecosystems to terrestrial ecosystems. Integrated lectures, practical classes and extensive online resources will allow you to develop and integrate practical skills and conceptual frameworks in plant identification, and plant physiology, morphology and anatomy. Lectures and practical classes are augmented by discussions to foster a sense of self-reliance and collaboration. The Advanced Botany unit of study requires engagement at a high standard of academic rigour and affords opportunities to engage with core aspect of Botany at depth and to create new knowledge. In partnership with academic staff advanced students will undertake an independent research project, which will develop skills in research and communication.
Textbooks
Evert RF and Eichhorn SE. 2013. Raven: Biology of Plants. 8th Ed. Freeman and Co Publishers. New York. NY.
BIOL2031 Plants and Environment

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Claudia Keitel Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two lectures; one 4-hour practical session on a weekly basis Prohibitions: AGEN2005 or BIOL3043 or BIOL3943 or BIOL2931 Assumed knowledge: Knowledge of concepts and skills in BIOL1XX6. Assessment: Online quiz (20%), lab assignment (15%), presentation (15%), exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Plants grow across a range of environments, influencing form, function and ultimately reproductive success. Being sessile, plants lack the luxury of seeking an alternative 'stress-free lifestyle' and therefore rely on genetic and physical adaptations to survive and reproduce. To understand how a plant can achieve such flexibility requires knowledge of plant structure and the influence of environmental drivers on plant growth and function. In this unit, you will examine the physiological processes controlling plant growth and reproduction linked to environmental constraints. You will understand the relationship between tissue and cellular structure and their underlying role in physiological and metabolic activities, particularly processes involving light capture, photosynthesis, water regulation, nutrient management and metabolite redistribution. Lectures and interactive practicals will together introduce you to plant processes that underpin life on earth. Experimentation and analysis of plant physiological processes will develop a skill base that will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of common plant processes. As a component of the Plant Science minor and the Plant Production major, BIOL2031 will provide an important platform to extend your interests in plant science and plant related fields across the curriculum.
Textbooks
Taiz, L. and Zeiger, E. (2010) Plant Physiology, Fifth Edition. Sinauer Associates. Sunderland, MA.
BIOL2931 Plants and Environment (Advanced)

This unit of study is not available in 2020

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Brent Kaiser Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1-hour lectures/week; one 4-hour practical/week Prerequisites: Annual average mark of at least 70 in previous year Prohibitions: AGEN2005 or BIOL3043 or BIOL3943 or BIOL2031 Assumed knowledge: Knowledge of concepts and skills in BIOL1XX6. Assessment: On-line quiz (20%), lab assignment (15%), independent project (15%), exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Plants grow across a range of environments, which influence form, function and ultimately reproductive success. Being sessile, plants lack the luxury of seeking an alternative 'stress-free lifestyle' and therefore rely on genetic and physical adaptations to help survive and reproduce. To understand how a plant can achieve such flexibility requires an understanding of plant structure and the influence that environmental drivers have on plant growth and function. In this unit, you will examine the physiological processes controlling plant growth and reproduction linked to environmental constraints. You will understand the relationship between tissue and cellular structure and their underlying role in physiological and metabolic activities, particularly processes involving light capture, photosynthesis, water regulation, nutrient management and metabolite redistribution. Lectures and interactive practicals will together introduce you to plant processes that we commonly depend upon for food production, and plant related materials. Experimentation and analysis of plant physiological processes will develop a skill base that will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of common plant processes that guide plant growth. As a component of the Plant Science minor, this unit will provide an important platform to extend your interests in plant science and plant-related fields, including ecology, cell biology, genetics, breeding, agriculture, molecular biology, environmental law, education and the arts. The advanced unit has the same overall concepts as BIOL2031 but material is discussed in a manner that offers a greater level of challenge and academic rigour. Students enrolled in BIOL2931 participate in alternative components, which include a separate practical stream. The content and nature of these components may vary from year to year.
Textbooks
Resources required by the unit will be provided on the Blackboard learning management page for the unit. Taiz, L. and Zeiger, E. (2010) Plant Physiology, Fifth Edition. Sinauer Associates. Sunderland, MA.

3000-level units of study

Core
BIOL3020 Applied Plant Function

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Charles Warren Session: Semester 1 Classes: You are required to attend 2 x lectures, 1 x 4-hour practical session on a weekly basis. On-line Learning Requirements. Please check for updates regularly. Prerequisites: BIOL2X23 or BIOL2X30 or BIOL2X31 or AGEN2001 or AGEN2005 or BIOL2X09 Prohibitions: BIOL3043, BIOL3943, AGEN2005, PLNT3001, PLNT3901, PLNT3002, PLNT3902, ENSY3001 Assumed knowledge: Knowledge of concepts and skills in BIOL1XX6 Assessment: Assessment in BIOL3020 is based on a written laboratory report (30%), laboratory notebook (15%), group presentation (15%) and a 2-hour exam at the end of semester (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Plants are truly amazing. Plants lift water to heights that defy physics. Plants take sunlight and simple inorganic ingredients to create a bewildering diversity of organic compounds. What's even more amazing is that we are only just beginning to understand how plants achieve these amazing feats. This unit explores how plants function and illustrates how this knowledge can be applied to real-World problems. Major topics include how plants function as integrated systems, resource partitioning and the dilemmas faced by plants, interaction of plants with the world around them. Emphasis will be placed on integration of plant responses from molecular through to whole plant scales, and how this knowledge can be practically applied to maximise plant growth, optimise use of water and nutrients, and understand how plants affect (and are affected by) their environment. Lectures are augmented by experimental work that leads to practical hands-on experience with research tools and techniques that can be applied across the sciences, and bespoke instruments used in the world's leading plant science research laboratories. This unit of study complements other senior units of study in the Plant Science minor and is essential for those seeking a career in plant biology and plant-related fields, including ecology, cell biology, genetics, breeding, agriculture, molecular biology, environmental law, education and the arts.
Selective
BIOL3004 Terrestrial Plant Ecology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Tina Bell Session: Semester 2 Classes: The general weekly schedule comprises 2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 x 3 hour practical session. A mandatory 2-3 day field trip to southern New South Wales will take place in the middle of the semester. Prerequisites: 6cp of BIOL2X23 or BIOL2X30 or AGEN2001 or GEOS2X21 or AGEN2005 or BIOL2X09 Prohibitions: ENSY3003 or ENSY3002 Assumed knowledge: Students should have a basic understanding of plant biology, plant ecology and/or plant physiology. Some background knowledge in mathematics and chemistry would be beneficial. Assessment: Assessment tasks include two in-class quizzes (10% each); field report (20%); 2000w group-based land management plan (35%); 500w individual component to the land management plan (15%); group-based oral presentation (10%). Practical field work: A mandatory 2-3 day field trip to southern New South Wales will take place in the middle of the semester. Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Australian native vegetation is a unique resource for diversity, ecosystem services and public use. The objective of this unit is to provide a broad understanding of three major plant terrestrial ecosystems that are found across Australia: forests, heathlands and grasslands and how they are managed. While the focus will be on native plant systems in an Australian setting, their importance at a global level will also be discussed. You will develop an understanding of the characteristics of key plant ecosystems, including where they are found and their main ecophysiology features. Each of the ecosystems described has the potential to be affected (positively or negatively) by a range of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. They include fire, climate change (drought and temperature), changes in nutrient flows and more broadly human-induced disturbances such as logging, mining, urban development and agricultural management. The impact of these disturbances along with mitigation via conservation and associated management changes will also be covered. Finally, government policy around conservation/management of these ecosystems will be examined. At the completion of this unit you will have developed an understanding of the environmental and economic importance of forests, heathlands and grasslands, their vulnerability to a range of external factors and the extent that these can be mitigated.
BIOL3019 Plant Protection

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Brett Whelan Session: Semester 1 Classes: Lectures 2 hrs/week; practical/tutorial 2 hrs/week. 2 x 4 hr field excursions. Prerequisites: 6cp of BIOL2X23 or BIOL2X30 or BIOL2X31 or AGEN2001 or AGEN2005 Prohibitions: PPAT3003 Assessment: You will be assessed though submission of a written IPM Case study 60% (20% each for weeds, insects, diseases), an oral presentation on the IPM case study (10%) and quizzes after the disease, insect and weed sections of the course (30%i.e. 3 x 10%) Practical field work: 1 x 4hr field work in crop Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Plants are fundamentally important to human food, fibre and energy requirements, but global productivity is reduced by an estimated 40% by pest (disease, insect and weed) pressures. The impact of these production losses is increasing as demand grows for greater food, fibre and energy production. This unit on Plant Protection focuses on the development and adoption of integrated crop management processes to control plant pathogens, insects and weeds. The advantages and disadvantages of biological, cultural, physical and chemical control methods are explored using examples from agro-ecosystems. You will develop a comparative case study of integrated pest management (IPM) for a particular crop that considers all three pest groups and present a seminar about this case study. You will learn the principles of healthy plant production, the ecology of diseases, insects and weeds and integrated approaches to manage these pests. Completing this unit of study will provide you with the skills required to identify important pest management issues and critically assess requirements for optimum intervention plans.
Textbooks
There will be a Canvas site for this unit, where resources will be supplied and reference materials suggested relevant to the course as it progresses.General textbooks for the unit are: Pedigo LP and Rice ME. 2009. Entomology and Pest Management. 6th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Schumann GL and Darcy CJ. 2010. Essential Plant Pathology (2nd ed.). APS Press, St Paul, Minn., USA. Sindel BM (Ed) (2000). Australian Weed Management Systems. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne.
BIOL3029 Molecular Plant Biology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Brian Jones Session: Semester 2 Classes: Lectures 2hrs/week for 13 weeks, Practicals 1 x 3hr practical/week for 13 weeks Prerequisites: 6cp of BIOL2X23 or BIOL2X30 or BIOL2X31 or BCMB2X0X or GEGE2X01 or MBLG2X72 or GENE2002 Assessment: Laboratory eNotebook - (Week 5 x 5% + Week 13 x 5%, total = 10%), Research paper (2500 words, 20%), Oral presentation (20%), Final Exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Having diverged from animals prior to the evolution of multicellularity, plants also provide us with a unique opportunity to discover how environmental adaptability and productivity features are enabled at the molecular level. This unit of study explores the molecular mechanisms that give rise to plant form and function, focussing on higher plants. By examining current literature, students will advance their knowledge of how plants grow, develop and adapt, in the context of the molecular mechanisms that plants use to drive, form, function and responses to the environment. There is a focus on how this knowledge is being used to improve plant performance and better manage ecosystems. The new tools available to biologists are giving us an unprecedented capacity to understand the fundamentals of life. The skills developed in this unit will enable you to play a role in designing better ways to manage plants and ecosystems.
Textbooks
Schumann GL and Darcy CJ. 2010. Essential Plant Pathology (2nd ed.). APS Press, St Paul, Minn., USA.