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Unit information: Green Planet in 2021/22

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. Franklin
Open unit status Not open




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 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 cell biology and genetics through whole plant biology and ecology, considering mechanisms that have played out over millions of years of evolution as well as issues that arise in our daily lives (e.g. environmental signalling, nutrient cycling, reproduction, plant –animal interactions, ecosystem function, crops and GM). 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 and an understanding of the importance of plants to life on earth.

Specifically students will acquire an understanding of:

  1. Environmental signalling I – how plants use light.
  2. Environmental signalling II- How plants control water use via stomata.
  3. How plants obtain water via their roots and how roots interact with the soil and soil organisms.
  4. The role of plants in making ecosystems and proving ecosystem services.
  5. How plants reproduce and products of reproduction - seeds and fruits.
  6. Plant animal interactions.
  7. Plants and human evolution - agriculture and the concept of food security.

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

Teaching Information

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

Assessment Information

Coursework (40%) plus summative written assessment (60%) with one essay question to be selected from a choice of two.


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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.