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Green Planet: Plants and the Environment (BOTA20001)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeBOTA20001
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.

Eligibility and requirements


One of

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
BIOL10004 Biology of Cells and Organisms
Semester 1
BIOL10002 Biomolecules and Cells
Semester 1



Non-allowed subjects

Students may not gain credit for this subject and

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
AGRI20026 Plant Growth Processes
Semester 1

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in practical class activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and Student Equity and Disability Support.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



Four practical assignments (up to 3000 words in total) evenly spaced through the semester (35%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (65%).

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorAlex Johnson
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours2 x one hour lectures per week, 1 x three hour practical class per week
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period27 February 2017 to 28 May 2017
    Last self-enrol date10 March 2017
    Census date31 March 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail 5 May 2017
    Assessment period ends23 June 2017

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours

Additional delivery details

This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts


  • Subject notes

    This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and Exchange students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad.

Last updated: 13 November 2018