• Class Number 7482
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Owen Atkin
    • Dr Britta Forster
    • Prof Celeste Linde
    • Prof Graham Farquhar
    • Prof John Evans
    • Prof Marilyn Ball
    • Prof Patrick Meir
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course is based on an integrative approach to how global climate change is affecting vegetation with a specific focus on the rise of dieback in plant communities. There is much controversy in the field regarding causes of dieback; however, various factors are implicated including carbon starvation, hydraulic failure, vulnerability to biotic stress and phenology and how these drivers interact with elevated atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. You will investigate the causes of dieback through four modules driven by key researchers and through exposure to disciplinary controversies around the significance, role, and interplay of these factors on plant health, adaptation and survival. The course has a weekend field trip to Kioloa to identify and classify plants based on systematics and to consider evidence of vegetation changes arising from climate change and environmental stressors. There are several pre-field trip practical which will include living and herbarium specimens for first-hand examples of the plant groups and their characteristics. This course will build students’ understanding of plant function in relation to global climate change, field skills in identifying plants and their research analysis and proposal formulation skills. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain and describe global climate change and the ways in which its effects may have impacts on plant biology.
  2. Evaluate knowledge claims on the influence of carbon, hydraulics, abiotic stress and phenology (and their interaction) on plant susceptibility to dieback in context of climate change.
  3. Source and critically analyse relevant primary research literature in written and oral formats.
  4. Communicate science ideas and research in broadly accessible terms. Identify and classify the diversity of relevant land plants groups in a phylogenetic field experience context.

Required Resources

Purchasing class brick from Biology Teaching and Learning Centre in the Gould Building

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Module 1 - introduction, dieback and respiration
2 Module 2 - photosynthesis
3 Module 3 - tropical forests
4 Module 4 - carbon and water movement
5 Module 5 - temperature and dieback
6 Module 6 - biotic stress

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Discussion Sessions 30 % 29/07/2019 09/08/2019 1,2,3,4
Essay 30 % 14/10/2019 10/11/2019 1,2,3,4
End of semester exam 40 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester.       


 The exam will be based on the lectures and all papers discussed through the course.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 09/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Discussion Sessions

In each module, there will be two Discussion Sessions where selected primary literature papers will be presented (20 min talks, given by students) and discussed (one paper per Discussion Session). Each student will give at least one talk during the semester, with the student pretending they are the actual author of the selected paper when presenting. Following each presentation, the class will have a discussion on the broader issues raised by the paper, including whether more work needs to be done to address key questions.

Due: Biweekly

Returned: 2 weeks after submission.

The date range for these tasks indicates the approximate due date for the first discussion session, and the approximate return date for the last piece of feedback. There are 6 discussion sessions over the semester. It is intended that feedback will be returned within 2 weeks after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 14/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


 Students will elect a seed paper for the essay exercise in the beginning of the semester. Please sign up on the course Wattle web-site ‘Group choices’ for your essay topic preferences.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

End of semester exam

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. This applies to the discussion sessions

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations and this applies also to the essay.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be made available from the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre from 12 noon on Nov 11th 2019

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments will not be allowed.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Owen Atkin

Research Interests

Plant ecophysiology, climate change

Owen Atkin

Monday 09:00 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 17:00
Thursday 09:00 17:00
Friday 09:00 17:00
Dr Britta Forster

Research Interests

Dr Britta Forster

Prof Celeste Linde

Research Interests

Prof Celeste Linde

Prof Graham Farquhar

Research Interests

Prof Graham Farquhar

Prof John Evans

Research Interests

Prof John Evans

Prof Marilyn Ball

Research Interests

Prof Marilyn Ball

Prof Patrick Meir

Research Interests

Prof Patrick Meir

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions