BIOL254-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Principles of Plant Physiology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


The principles of plant development, including the basic anatomy of higher plants, and how they grow, respond to external stimuli and reproduce. Relationship between these concepts and developments in agriculture and biotechnology.

To introduce the principles of plant growth and development, including the basic anatomy of vascular plants, physiology of acquisition of vital resources (water, minerals and carbon), and how they grow and reproduce. To give an overview of the processes associated with the uptake and transport of water and mineral nutrients in plants, acquisition of carbon, and the responses of plants to external stimuli and adverse growth conditions. To relate the relevance of plant physiology principles to developments in agriculture and biotechnology.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should:
1. Understand the life cycle of plants, from germination through growth and development, to the
    induction of flowering and the formation of seeds.
2. Be able to discuss the developmental responses of plants to environmental factors such as
    light, gravity and cold temperatures.
3. Have an appreciation of plant growth and development, and how knowledge about these
    concepts has lead to improved productivity in modern agriculture.
4. An understanding of the scientific practice and principles of plant biology.
5. The ability to interpret experimental data.
6. Basic skills in plant laboratory science.
7. The ability to access and utilise the scientific literature on plant biology.

Transferable Skills

1. Completing tasks in a laboratory. Important in many science-related courses and jobs. We will
   have lab. instructions on what is required in each lab. session. (Employable, innovative and
2. Providing required information in a written form of acceptable standard. This is necessary in
   most science-related courses and jobs. We will provide feedbacks on lab reports and short
   library researchassignments on selected lab session topics. (Employable, innovative and




Course Coordinator / Lecturer

David Leung


Claudia Meisrimler and Matthew Turnbull

Lab Technician

Reijel Gardiner


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
In course assessment 20%
Final Exam 50%
Laboratory assignments 30%

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Campbell, Neil A. , Reece, Jane B; Campbell Biology ; 9th ed. ; Pearson, 2011.

Taiz, Lincoln. , Zeiger, Eduardo; Plant physiology ; 5th ed; Sinauer Associates, 2010.


It is compulsory to wear a lab coat and safety glasses in the laboratory.

To purchase approved safety glasses, lab or coats go to
The collection point for purchases is inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, Monday to Friday between the hours 8.30 – 10.00 am and 1.30 – 3.00 pm for the first two weeks of the semester.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

It is essential that you are aware that plagiarism is considered a very serious offence by the Academic community, the University and the School of Biological Sciences. Plagiarism is defined as taking content from another work or author and presenting it, without attribution, as if it is your own work. Content here includes text (sentences or major parts of sentences), display items (graphs and tables), and overall structure (the detailed sequence of ideas). Plagiarism includes:
• re-use of previous assignments (even if each individual sentence has been rephrased to say the same thing in different words, if the overall structure is re-used)  
• copying of another student’s work (with or without their consent)
• the unreferenced use of published material or material from the internet e.g. cutting and pasting of paragraphs or pages into an essay.
For most pieces of in-term assessment you will be given information concerning the use of direct and indirect quotes from previously published work. If you are in any doubt about appropriate use of published material, please speak with a member of academic staff. If you are still unsure what plagiarism is, then seek advice.

It is a School policy that courses may request you submit work electronically for subsequent analysis of originality using Turnitin. Students agree that by taking courses in BIOL, required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism.  All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers.  Use of the service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the site.

Assessment and grading system


There are 2 lectures per week for this course in TERMS 3 and 4. Please check the latest details on CIS.

Lecture topics

Whole Plant Physiology (12 lectures by David)
Introduction to the course
Plant cells, tissues and organs.
Plant cell division and meristems.
The structures and functions of the phloem and xylem including discussion on secondary xylem
Acquisition of water and mineral resources

Plant Growth and Development (12 lectures by Claudia)
Introduction to signals and signal transduction; hormone biology
Seed development, dormancy and germination Seedling responses to light and gravity;
phytochrome and blue light responses
The environmental control of flowering; the ABC model of flower development;
fruit development
Senescence, including fruit ripening, and abscission
Introduction to biotic interactions

Laboratory Work
Information on the laboratories and the laboratory schedules for the entire course are provided in the
laboratory manual. You will be provided with a copy of this during week 1 lectures, and are not
required to pay. You should read the lab manual before coming to the lab classes.
* There are 6 labs in total that are run during TERMS 3 and 4 .
* There is only one laboratory stream.
* Lab class will not run every week.
* As two of the laboratory classes that you will conduct require plants to be measured after a 24 h
treatment, you will need to come back to the lab for about 1 h on the afternoon of the following
day after the lab. The time when the lab will be opened will be organised during the main lab
class, but will be flexible to suit people’s timetables.

Lab topics:
1. Plant anatomy I
3. Plant anatomy II- Dissection of a plant of your choice.
3. Osmosis, turgor and plasmolysis.
4. Nutrient assimilation, mineral nutrition, metal toxicity.
5. Auxin and coleoptile elongation.
6. Seed germination.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $900.00

International fee $4,250.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences .

All BIOL254 Occurrences

  • BIOL254-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020