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BIO2035 : Plant Biology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tahar Taybi
  • Lecturer: Dr Vasilios Andriotis
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To deepen understanding and knowledge of the manner in which plants develop in their natural environment, how they perceive and respond to environmental stimuli, and how they make co-ordinated adjustments at the physiological, biochemical and molecular levels that facilitate survival under stressful and changing conditions.

May also describe the evolution and diversity of higher plants.
To grow an appreciation of relevant background theory and the application of experimental methods. Practical classes develop core skills and encourage the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module builds on the appreciation of the role and importance of plants in the natural world acquired in Stage 1. The majority of the module will focus on the mechanisms underlying the ways in which plants grow and differentiate, the ways they perceive signals and respond to environmental stimuli and the ways they co-ordinate and adjust at the physiological, biochemical and molecular levels to facilitate growth and survival in diverse environments. The module may also cover the evolution of plants and the diversity of plant life on the planet.
Practical classes aim at developing core cognitive abilities (e.g. the analysis and interpretation of datasets), and will facilitate the formulation and testing of specific hypotheses – skills that will be of direct relevance in the planning and execution of Stage 3 research projects.

Topics of lectures:
Plant growth and differentiation: seed germination, development of roots, shoots and leaves.
Flowering: flower development and reproductive growth and their control.
Metabolic coordination: allocation and transport of assimilates, coordination of carbon availability and growth, acute and acclamatory responses to starvation.
Plant responses to abiotic stress.
Physiology of stomata.
Communication within and between plants; plant hormones.
Mineral nutrition and the rhizosphere.
Origin and diversification of plants.
Lab practicals:
Effect of abiotic stress on plant growth
Physiology of stomata and Ca2+ signalling
Plant mineral nutrition

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion33:009:00Preparation of formatively and summatively assessed lab reports
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion600:3030:00Revision for examinations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00PiP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study41:004:00Formative tests
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study251:0025:00Routine lecture follow up to identify areas requiring further, more detailed study
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study196:0096:00Student selected study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard, websites etc. to enhance understanding
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Structured lectures with focused topics will allow students to gain a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of plant development and survival in challenging environments, together with plant evolution and diversification from the molecular level to the whole plant level. The learning experience will constitute a strong foundation to pursue specialist 3rd year courses. Practicals based on Nuffield-style approaches will specifically encourage the formulation and testing of hypotheses. The content of the lab-based practicals will complement and enhance the formal lecture programme. Private study using recommended plant biology and physiology texts will provide further depth of understanding of the biological processes and systems involved.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1201A70In case of lockdown, an alternative assessment can be done at home. Students to have 1 week, flexibility for special circumstances.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1A30lab report 2
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Practical/lab report1MPractice in analysing and reporting on experimental results
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and practical exercises provide the basis for questions in the formal examination, which focuses on testing depth and breadth of knowledge and general understanding of the subject area. The practical reports which includes a formative assessment, are designed to assess the ability to design and perform hypothesis-driven research, record findings and interpret experimental results.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.

Reading Lists