BIOL254-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

Principles of Plant Physiology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


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

As a student in this course, I will develop the ability to:
* Understand the scientific practice and principles of plant functional and developmental biology (Graduate Attribute 1: Mastery of discipline), and how knowledge about these concepts is relevant to traditional and contemporary realities of Māori society (Graduate Attribute 4: Biculturally competent and confident) and has led to improved productivity in modern agriculture (Graduate Attribute 2: Employable, innovative and enterprising): (assessment items: short revision quizzes and final exam).
* Understand basic skills in plant laboratory science and interpret experimental data (Graduate Attribute 2: Employable, innovative and enterprising): (assessment items: lab reports).
* Access and utilise the scientific literature on plant physiology (Graduate Attribute 1: Mastery of discipline and 2: Employable, innovative and enterprising): (assessment items: short library research assignments on selected lab session topics)

Transferable Skills / Pūkenga Ngaio
As a student in this course, I will develop the following 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. (Graduate Attribute 2: Employable, innovative and enterprising): (assessment items: lab reports).
2. Providing required information in a written form of acceptable standard. This is necessary in most science-related courses and jobs. We will provide feedback on lab reports and short library research assignments on selected lab session topics. (Graduate Attribute 2: Employable, innovative and enterprising): (assessment items: lab reports and research assignments).
3. Synthesising information. In everyday life and in many job situations you will be required to read information from different sources, construct your own understanding and shape your own viewpoint. In lectures we will discuss recent research papers in a group environment and this will develop your abilities to identify the essential elements of research outputs - you will then use in report writing. (Graduate Attribute 2: Employable, Innovative and Enterprising): (assessment items: lab reports, tests and exam).




Course Coordinator / Lecturer

David Leung


Claudia Meisrimler and Matthew Turnbull


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final Exam 50% A 3-hour final exam covering the contents of the entire course will be held during the examination period following the end of TERM 4.
Lab reports 40% For classes 2 through 6. Due dates for assignments will be indicated in the laboratory manual (each worth 10%).
Two Revision quizzes 10% Each worth 5%

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Taiz, Lincoln et al; Plant physiology and development ; Sixth edition; Sinauer Associates, Inc., Publishers, 2015.

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

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 $910.00

International fee $4,438.00

* 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

  • BIOL254-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021