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Unit information: Plant Environmental Adaptation in 2021/22

Unit name Plant Environmental Adaptation
Unit code BIOL30005
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Franklin
Open unit status Not open

None, but we strongly advise that students should previously have studied BIOL20013 Green Planet. If you have not taken this unit, consult with the Unit Director for suggested background reading.



School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Aims: To enhance understanding of how plants perceive, respond and adapt to the abiotic environment.

Description: Plant physiological adaptations to extreme environments (eg. arctic, desert) will be studied alongside cell signalling pathways controlling plant responses to a range of transient abiotic stresses. Topics will include plant responses to shade, heat, freezing, drought, flooding and CO2. The integration of environmental information with the circadian clock to provide day length measurement and seasonal prediction will also be explored. In addition to discussing cutting edge developments in plant environmental signalling, the course will examine agricultural and horticultural approaches to mitigate the adverse effects of abiotic environmental stress on crop productivity and food security.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will gain an understanding of how plants perceive and respond to a variety of environmental signals at the physiological and molecular levels (light, temperature, water, CO2). They will additionally gain understanding of structural adaptations to extreme environments, the plant circadian clock and daylength/seasonal detection. At the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate understanding of how scientific advances in this area are currently being exploited in agricultural/horticultural systems to mitigate the adverse effects of abiotic stress on crop production.

Teaching Information

Lectures, directed reading, research and/or problem-solving activities; and independent study.

Assessment Information

Summative written assessment, with one essay question to be selected from a choice of two.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOL30005).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.