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Unit information: Green Planet in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Green Planet
Unit code BIOL20013
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2D (weeks 19 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Grierson
Open unit status Open

None, but we recommend taht students should have 120 cp of appropriate Level 1 units



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

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of the unit is to equip modern life science students with the essentials of plant biology so that they may build on this information by taking further units in year 3. The unit will illustrate how important plants (and other photosynthetic organisms) are and have been to life on earth, and will demonstrate their importance to humanity. The unit will cover a wide range of plant biology from whole plant biology through ecology to cell biology and genetics, considering mechanisms that have played out over millions of years of evolution as well as issues that arise in our daily lives (e.g. photosynthesis, nutrient cycling, ecosystem function, reproduction, crops plants, plant breeding, plant disease, biotechnology, food security). Through a combination of lectures and hands-on practical sessions, students will learn about the frontiers of plant science and the potential of plant research to address global problems, including climate change and food security.

Intended Learning Outcomes

General: a broad grounding in plant biology: diversity, form, ecology, and importance to life on earth.

Specifically students will acquire an understanding of:

1. how plants harvest light energy and turn it into food for animals (ourselves included);

2. how plants obtain water via their roots and how roots interact with the soil and soil organisms;

3. the role of plants in making ecosystems and proving 'ecosystem services'; plants reproduce and products of reproduction - seeds and fruits;

5.plants and human evolution - agriculture and the concept of 'food security';

6. products from plants and biotechnology.

Transferable skills: ability to work as part of a team via the practicals.

Teaching Information

  • 3 x 1-hour weekly lectures in each of weeks 19-23
  • 2 x 3-hour laboratory-based practicals one in week 20 and one in week 22

Assessment Information

Continuous Assessment - 40% (consisting of two practicals).

End of year exam - 60%.

Reading and References

1. Plant Biology. Graham LE, Graham JM, Wilcox LW. (2nd Edition, 2006) Pearson.

2. Biology of Plants. Raven PH, Evert RF, Eichhorn SE. (7th Edition, 2005) Freeman.

3. Plant & Planet. Huxley AJ. (1978) Allen Lane, London.

4. Plant Biology. Smith AM. et al. (2008) Routledge.