The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


The course theme is the production of plant biomass for maintenance of ecosystems and commercial gain. It explores the coordinated development of vegetative plant organs responsible for capture of nutrients from the environment and their allocation within the plant. Adaptive responses to environmental challenges and the opportunities for genetic manipulation are investigated. The course provides an opportunity to hone skills in developing a logical argument, analysis and interpretation of experimental data, and verbal and written communication.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

1. Describe the basic processes of plant development, function and reproduction and their regulation at a molecular and cellular level;

2. Provide examples of the adaptive responses of plants to endogenous and environmental signals;

3. Demonstrate competence in critical analysis and interpretation of experimental data and scientific literature;

4. Communicate scientific results, both verbally and in writing, exhibiting the ability to develop a logical argument;

5. Implement organisational skills and combine with others to effectively work as a team.


Vegetative Plant Development

Developing surfaces for nutrient capture

  • Maintaining meristems
  • Primordia, cell fate specification and regulation
  • Organ development

Nutrient capture and allocation -- Leaves-aerial magicians

  • Whole leaf photosynthesis
  • Exporting nutrients
  • Endogenous regulation by metabolic signals
  • Adaptive responses

Nutrient capture and allocation -- Roots - underground miners

  • Root architecture and nutrient capture
  • Ion transporters, channels and aquaporins
  • Adaptive responses

Development for Reproduction

Floral transition

  • Environmental cues, sensors and endogenous signals
  • Early events at the shoot apexEmbryogenesis - the next generation
  • Seed development - investing in the future


Students must have successfully completed BIOL2220 to be enrolled in in this course.

Assumed knowledge

BIOL1001, BIOL1002

Assessment items

Report: Written Reports

Presentation: Group Presentation (Oral)

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: There is a compulsory attendance requirement in this course. - Students must attend all laboratory sessions.
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course students must complete a compulsory safety induction.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 6 hour(s) per Week for 7 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


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