• Class Number 6122
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Andrew Scafaro
    • Dr Andrew Scafaro
    • Prof Celeste Linde
    • Prof Graham Farquhar
    • Dr Matthew Brookhouse
    • Owen Atkin
    • Dr Pieter Arnold
    • John Mackenzie
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

Across the globe, climates are changing. As a carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, temperatures are increasing, resulting in more frequent and severe heat waves.  When and where rain falls is also changing, with droughts occurring more often. How will these changes in the global climate affect the performance, survival and distribution of plants, both in nature and cultivation?

This course will provide you with a solid background in plant function in relation to global climate change and enable you to answer this question at scales ranging from cellular function to community processes. The course is structured around six topic modules selected to expose students to current research areas in the field. ANU has a high research profile in different aspects of how environmental factors and global climate change affect plant function and ecology and each module is taught by an expert lecturer. The specific topics may vary between years depending on lecturers. The course will have a broad content ranging from topics as fundamental as how: plants take up carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and how this uptake of carbon is linked to the use of water; changing environmental factors such as temperatures affect plant function; the biotic environment is crucial in determining how plants acquire nutrients and their responses to changes in the global climate; and, climate change is leading to increased mortality of plants – often described as ‘dieback’ – in ecosystems across the globe.

Students will learn how to critique papers in the primary literature and will develop written and oral communication skills. Course format is directed by lecturers, but significantly based on student-led presentations of primary literature. This course will build student's understanding of plant function in relation to global climate change, research analysis and proposal formulation skills.

Honours Pathway Option:

Entry to Honours Pathway Option will be subject to the approval of the course convener, and requires a mark of at least 70 in all BIOL courses. Students undertaking this option will engage in a small inquiry-learning project based in one of the course lecturer's labs. The practical experience provides an opportunity to learn and apply techniques and to extend the theory taught in the course. Students will work with the lecturer to develop the mini-project and will either write a brief report or give a 15 minute presentation to the class on the project and results.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand and describe global climate change and the ways in which its effects may have impacts on plant biology
  2. Develop knowledge of plant biology processes relevant to plant growth and performance and ecological outcomes.
  3. Find and interpret primary research literature and be able to analyze and critique the research results in written and oral formats.
  4. Communicate science issues and ideas in both oral and written forms.

Examination Material or equipment

Class brick, examinable papers, and class notes. Students for whom English is not a first language may bring a dictionary

Textbooks will be on reserve in the library and readings will be provided in the brick and on the web. The following texts are recommended for reference, but not required:

 Schulze E.-D, E. Beck, K. Müller-Hohenstein (2002) Plant Ecology, Berlin, Springer-Verlag. Excellent text on plant ecology, graduate level.

Raven, PH, RF Evert, SE Eichhorn (2005), Biology of Plants (7th edition), Freeman & Co, New York (Recommended as a reference for basic review, good for anatomy and an overview of plant groups).

Taiz L Zeiger E Moller I.M. Murphy A. Plant Physiology and Development (2015) 6th Edition Sinauer (good background for physiology)

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

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
2 Module 2 - heat stress and photosynthesis
3 Module 3 - respiration and carbon cycles
4 Module 4 - carbon and water movement
5 Module 5 - alpine ecosystems
6 Module 6 - biotic stress

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Discussion Sessions 30 % * * 1,2,3,4
Essay 30 % 17/10/2022 07/11/2022 1,2,3,4
End of semester exam 40 % 03/11/2022 01/12/2022 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 %
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: Bi-weekly

Returned: 2 weeks after submission.

There are 12 discussion sessions over the semester. It is intended that feedback will be returned within 1 week after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 17/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 07/11/2022
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: 03/11/2022
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2022
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 use 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.

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).
Dr Andrew Scafaro

Research Interests

Plant physiology, climate change

Dr Andrew Scafaro

By Appointment
Dr Andrew Scafaro
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Dr Andrew Scafaro

By Appointment
Prof Celeste Linde
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Prof Celeste Linde

Prof Graham Farquhar
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Prof Graham Farquhar

Dr Matthew Brookhouse

Research Interests

Dr Matthew Brookhouse

Owen Atkin
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Owen Atkin

Dr Pieter Arnold
02 6125 9090

Research Interests

Dr Pieter Arnold

John Mackenzie

Research Interests

John Mackenzie

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