• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Physiology, Plant Science, Biology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Daniel Noble
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 2 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities will also be available.

Mangroves protect our coasts and promote biodiversity, but how do they thrive in the hostile, salty water that is lethal to most plants? How does a goose fly over the Himalayas in the intense cold and low oxygen that would kill a human in minutes? Answers to these questions rely on a strong understanding of how plants and animals operate at all levels, from cells to organs. For an organism to function in the natural environment physiological processes must work together. If we understand these processes we can better predict how plants and animals will respond to environmental stress. For example, we can then work out how extreme temperatures and drought brought about by climate change will affect local rates of extinction. We can explore the tricks that allow some species to survive in seemingly inhospitable environments across our planet. This knowledge can offer novel engineering insights into the design of our own buildings, transport systems and even cities (biomimetics is a growing and exciting field).


Plant and animal systems are rich in their diversity and have evolved striking parallels in how hormones and other biomolecules interact in day-to-day life. These interactions govern all metabolic processes that affect growth and performance. In this course we will help you to see both the shared and unique features of plant and animal physiology that underpin the evolution of biodiversity.


Physiology is not just fascinating; it’s crucial to our survival and well-being. Students will learn concepts that can be applied to an array of real-world problems including: 1) predicting how species distributions will change in response to climate change; 2) improving conservation outcomes for endangered plants and animals; 3) how anthropogenic stressors, such as overfishing, pollution and the introduction of invasive species impact physiology and can increase the risk of population extinction; 4) designing crops to ensure future food security.


This course covers a broad range of topics that can be studied at greater depth in more specialised third year courses

Honours pathway option(HPO):

Entry to this option will be subject to the approval of the course convener and based on merit. Students who take this option can choose to complete one of the two additional assessable item:

  1. 1500 word essay on a topic relevant to the course that would be supplied by the lecturers together with some seed research literature. (Due week 10) LO 1,4 or
  2. Create material for the online delivery of two of the practical classes. This could consist of short videos with voiceover, or other material that would enhance the online delivery of future classes. (Due end of week 12) LO 1, 3, 4, 5

The work would be assessed by a lecturer and if it was deemed of sufficient standard, HPO would be awarded for having met the course requirement.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Compare and contrast the physiological processes that occur in plants and animals, governing day to day function;
  2. Understand and predict the physiological responses of plants and animals to environmental stresses including temperature extremes and starvation;
  3. Use observation and laboratory experimentation to generate and test physiological hypotheses;
  4. Conduct basic physiological research and effectively communicate the findings;
  5. Work as a research team and provide effective peer support and feedback.

Other Information

Please email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au if you require a permission code to enrol in this course.

Indicative Assessment

  1. 4 lab quizzes or short reports (40) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  2. Mid-semester exam (30) [LO 1,2]
  3. Final exam (30) [LO 1,2]

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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • On-line component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures per week (total 36 hours).
  • Face to face 6 x 3 hours (total 18 hours) of practical or workshop sessions throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 76 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed BIOL1003 and BIOL1004, but exemptions can be granted by the convener. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL6115.

Prescribed Texts

Campbell, Reece and Meyers Biology 11th Edition Australian Version, or earlier version.

Assumed Knowledge

CHEM1101 or PHYS1101 or PHYS1004 are recommended.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6316 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

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