Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Plants are multicellular, sessile organisms composed of many different cell types originated from restricted regions of plant tissues called meristems. The coordinated development of different plant cell types requires cell division, expansion and differentiation and their organisation into specific tissues and organs to produce a functional plant. Much of this highly ordered cell development is driven by gene expression in response to the surrounding environment. Building on this knowledge, this course explores the adaptive response of plant vegetative and reproductive development to a changing environment. Understanding this complex interaction between plants and their environment is of high importance as it can be exploited to sustain and improve plant fitness and productivity to benefit ecosystem health and/or agriculture. The course provides opportunities to (i) achieve a systematic understanding of plant development and function, and (ii) hone skills in developing logical arguments via the analysis and interpretation of scientific data.



  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe specific plant cell structures and explain their functional significance;

2. Define the core concepts of plant cell development and describe their interaction with the surrounding environment;

3. Define the unique processes specific to plant vegetative and reproductive development;

4. Explain how plant cells perceive and interpret environmental signals;

5. Interpret scientific data and literature;

6. Identify and investigate biological problems.


The development of a plant cell progresses from cell division, to expansion and finally differentiation with each stage of this process regulated by various external signals that regulate gene expression. Thus, the course contains the following components which are taught sequentially:

  • Cell division
  • Cell expansion
  • Cell differentiation
  • Plant cell structure and organelles  
  • Adaptation of vegetative development
  • Adaptation of reproductive development

Assumed knowledge

BIOL1001 and BIOL1002 or BIOL1010 and BIOL1020.

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial Exercises

Quiz: Online Quizzes

Formal Examination: Final Exam

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.