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Agricultural Systems Biology (AGRI10050)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeAGRI10050
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Biology is the study of life, ranging from simple cells to complex multicellular organisms, and the processes which allow life to exist. Knowledge of the relevant biological concepts is essential for understanding of agricultural theory and practice. This subject aims to introduce the Bachelor of Agriculture students to the importance of the biological sciences in Agriculture and present the key biological processes in an agricultural context. Students will be introduced to a range of concepts vital to understanding the living world, familiarising students with the foundations of cell biology, microbiology, plant and animal systems, evolution and ecology.

This subject will begin with an introduction to key concepts in evolution, cell biology and soil health, which are fundamental to understanding both the biological sciences and how biology underpins agriculture. A brief history of Agriculture and the development of civilization will lead on to a discussion of the origin of life, basic molecules of life and how these molecules come together to form living cells. The structure and function of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells will be discussed as will the importance of microbes for soil health and agriculture. Plant growth and development will then be introduced. Agriculturally significant crops including Wheat and Soybean will be used to discuss topics ranging from physiological processes such as seed germination, plant growth, transpiration and the transport of substances throughout the plant to metabolic processes such as photosynthesis and respiration. The transition from vegetative to reproductive growth and how pests, disease and environmental factors can affect agricultural production will also be discussed. Animal physiology will be introduced using Agriculturally significant animal species such as cows (ruminants) and pigs (monogastrics). The basic structures, functions and importance of animal biological systems such as the endocrine, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems will be discussed and factors which influence agricultural production will be emphasized

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the biological basis and diversity of life
  • demonstrate an understanding of the biological concepts related to cell biology, plant and animal anatomy and physiology, evolution and ecology and how these concepts are related to agricultural processes and agricultural production
  • critically observe, record, evaluate and present relevant scientific data
  • demonstrate the principles of experimental design and analysis through simple laboratory practicals and assignments
  • define and articulate scientific principles and information underlying biology related topics in written format suitable for scientific audiences ensuring academic and intellectual integrity
  • work cooperatively in small groups/teams in practical classes demonstrating competence in in the use of relevant laboratory equipment
  • demonstrate critical thinking through practical and laboratory assessments and assignments

Generic skills

  • Be able to critically assess and assimilate new knowledge to use these skills to solve problems
  • Be able to complete basic manipulations with laboratory equipment
  • Have developed skills in recording observations, analysis and interpretation of data, and dissection techniques
  • Be able to work in small groups

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects

BIOL10004 Biology of Cells and Organisms

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.

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



  • 4 intra-semester assessments based on workshop activities and practical classes due in weeks 5, 8, 10 and 12 (30%) worth 7.5% each
  • 1-hour intra-semester assessment in Week 7 (20%)
  • 2 hour end-of-semester examination (50%)

Hurdle: Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject (i.e. an 80% attendance at the practical classes together with a result for the assessed practical work of at least 50% ).

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    CoordinatorPaul Knight
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours2 hours lectures/ week, 1 hour tutorial/ week equivalent to 2 hours/fortnight of practicals or workshops 4 hours per week of e-learning activities, independent learning tasks, pre- lecture activities, and post laboratory activities A one-off field trip to the Dookie campus in Week 10 of the semester
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

Last updated: 2 May 2019