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Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

Plant Evolution, Radiation and Adaptation (BIO245)

Organisational Unit Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S1-internal
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S1
Description This unit explores the evolution and incredible diversity of land plants. Particular emphasis is placed on the movement of plants onto land 460 mllion years ago and the structural changes which enabled them to adapt to an ever changing climate. Diversity in form and function and the relationships between the plant groups is presented within a phylogenetic framework. Practical sessions examine the morphological characteristics and reproduction of the various plant groups.
Unit Learning Outcomes On completion of this unit students will be able to:
1. Identify all the major lineages in the plant kingdom, their morphological features and how they differ from each other
2. Describe the major structural changes required to enable plant to move on to land
3. Explain the current understanding of the evolutionary relationships among major plant lineages
4. Understand the evolutionary concept of punctuated equilibrium and how this relates to plant evolution
5. Understand the importance of combining fossil evidence with modern molecular phylogenetics to unravel evolutionary history of plants
6. The importance of plate tectonics and environmental change in driving plant evolution
7. Understand why there are not the same trends of mass extinctions in plant evolution as seen in animal evolution and the concept of living fossils.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 2 per week, Tutorials: 1 per week; laboratories: 4 hours per week (10 weeks in total).
Unit Learning Experiences The aim of Plant Evolution, radiation and adaptation is to introduce the major groups of plants, their classification and major evolutionary trends. The approach to learning in this unit is to link the lecture content with the laboratory sessions to enhance student learning through demonstration and discovery. The laboratory sessions are structures to provide students with extensive opportunities for discussion with both experienced demonstrators and the unit coordinator. The lectures emphasise a changing environment as the major driver for the appearance and evolution of different plant groups. Student learning is assisted by weekly tutorial during which study questions will be discussed.
Assessment Laboratory component is 50% of the course and assessed as (1) Laboratory book which is submitted weekly for assessment and (2) a practical exam. The theory component is 50% assessed as (1) essay and (2) a final theory exam. Students will receive detailed feedback during the semester on the laboratory book. A pass grade must be achieved in both laboratory and theory components to pass the course.
Prerequisites BIO103 Environmental Biology / Introduction to Environmental Biology or BIO180 Introduction to Marine Biology.
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed BIO265/BIO245 Plant Diversity or BIO287 Plant Diversity (Marine Science) may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Previously 2015: 'Plant Diversity'
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Biological Sciences (BSc) [New in 2014]
Appears in these Minors Plant Biology
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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