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  3. Green Planet: Plants and the Environment

Green Planet: Plants and the Environment (BOTA20001)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Overview

Year of offer2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeBOTA20001
Campus
Parkville
Availability
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject examines the critical roles that plants play in life on earth. It explores how plants capture energy and carbon in the biosphere and influence the atmosphere; absorb almost all mineral nutrients that enter our ecosystem and underpin the nutrition and food supply of animals and people; have a major effect on hydrology and climate due to their water use; and produce a wealth of products ranging from food on our plates to fuel for our cars. Weekly practicals allow hand-on experience with plants and involve experiments with light, gravity, nutrients and additional factors that affect plant growth. Topics covered include:

  • Carbon and energy: gas exchange and atmosphere, plant productivity, carbon crediting, climate change, artificial environments;
  • Water: uptake and loss, plants and the hydrological cycle, coping with drought, salinity and temperature extremes;
  • Nutrition: essential elements, metabolic requirements, plants as part of the global nutrition cycle, biofortification to produce nutrient-enriched food;
  • Renewable energy: biohydrogen, biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel, future directions for the biofuel industry.

Intended learning outcomes

The objectives of this subject are to:

  • introduce plant structure and function in relation to the physical environment;
  • demonstrate how a fundamental knowledge of plant structure and function is critical to understanding major global processes such as climate change, hydrology and agriculture;
  • understand how plants adapt to natural environments and how they can be modified to survive in new environments and/or provide new products;
  • increase awareness of environmental issue that affect plants in Australia;
  • provide skills in laboratory-based experimental plant science.

Generic skills

At the completion of the subject students should have:

  • knowledge of plant structure and function in relation to the physical environment;
  • knowledge of how plants can be used to solve environmental problems;
  • knowledge of environmental issues that affect plant function in Australia; and
  • skills in laboratory-based experimental plant science.

Last updated: 31 August 2017