• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Plant Science
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

This course will not be offered in 2018. Student may enrol in BIOL3125 as a substitution.

This  course  explores how physiological processes underpin adaptations in plant form and function along environmental gradients and our ability to both predict and manage natural and agricultural systems under changing environmental scenarios. The course will build on the principles learned in BIOL2115 Comparative Physiology to develop a greater depth of understanding of compromises that plants make in balancing resource use and stress tolerance in a variable environment, and how different strategies of stress tolerance become expressed across scales in function from plant parts (roots, stems and leaves), to whole plants, communities and ecosystems. Field and lab work will give students a solid grounding in plant identification and evaluation of physiological traits in an evolutionary and environmental context. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Collect, preserve and identify herbarium specimens in a phylogenetic context.
  2. Explain how molecular phylogenies can inform studies of evolution of plant form and function
  3. Recognise how physiological attributes and processes underpin adaptive differentiation of plant structure along environmental gradients
  4. Describe how physiological processes scale up from the functioning of  complex structures such as stems, roots and leaves  to whole plants and plant communities
  5. Clearly articulate how physiological processes affect interactions between plant species and other organisms, particularly the fungi essential for nutrient uptake, in natural and agricultural ecosystems
  6. Describe how physiological attributes can provide a process-based approach to identifying responses of vegetation to complex environmental change and to developing management  tools to address effects of environmental change on natural and agricultural systems .
  7. Critically analyse experimental data and its variability and present it in appropriate scientific formats.

Indicative Assessment

  • Plant collection and descriptions project (15%; LO 1, 2)
  • Four practical reports at 10% each (40%; LO 5, 6, 7)
  • Mid-term and final theory exams (45%; LO 3, 4, 5, 6)

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Two lectures plus one practical of three hours per week, and a field trip to Kioloa field station over one weekend in August. Non-contact time: plant collection approx 30 hrs; practical reports 2 hrs each.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed BIOL2115 Comparative Physiology. This course is incompatible with BIOL2122 or BIOL6003

Assumed Knowledge

It would also be useful to have taken either BIOL2114 Evolution or BIOL2131 Ecology. 



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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