• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Biology
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • Prof Owen Atkin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course BIOL3125
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

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. 

Note:  Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Explain and describe, in-depth, 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, compare and critically analyse relevant primary research literature in written and oral formats.
  4. Communicate science ideas, research and evidence in broadly accessible terms.
  5. Identify and classify the diversity of relevant land plants  groups in a phylogenetic field experience context.

Other Information

To provide essential theory on plant function in relation to global climate change. To provide skills in sourcing, synthesising and analysing papers in the primary literature and develop written and oral communication skills.

The Biology Teaching and Learning Centre is located in Building 116. Alternatively you can email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

As an indication, the cost to students for the 3 days field trip in Kioloa during 24-26 August 2018 will be $170.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Oral presentation (10%) on a controversial issue from learning modules based on key paper (2 students to present each week taking different perspectives on a research issue) (LO 1-4)
  • Constructive critique of peer presentations (which could focus on greater number or greater depth in peer critiques) (15%) (LO 2-4)
  • Practical & Field Trip Report (15%) (LO 2, 5)
  • Research proposal (40%)  (LO 1-4)
  • Open book exam (20%) (LO 1-3)

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.


Following a week of introductory material, this course will be divided into four modules, each 2-3 weeks long and each having relevant number of lectures and tutorial sessions for the weeks covered. Additionally there will be 3-5 afternoon practical’s of 2-3 hour duration and a weekend field trip at Kioloa which is mandatory.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with BIOL3125

You will need to contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.


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:
Band 2
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
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
7986 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person

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