BIO3043 : Plant Biology 3

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module examines the challenges that plants face from environmental conditions and from pathogens, how plants have adapted to those challenges, and how these adaptations affect humans’ uses of plants. The first part of the module focuses on how photosynthetic metabolism has evolved to allow plants to successfully exploit habitats ranging from the arctic tundra to tropical rainforests; the second part deals with how pathogens attack plants, how plants defend themselves and the consequences of plant diseases. We will consider how this knowledge can inform efforts to improve plant productivity within the context of climate change, food security and provision of biofuels.

Outline Of Syllabus

• The importance of photosynthesis and implications for food and energy security
• Evolution of carbon concentrating mechanisms
• RuBisCO structure and function
• Physiology of C3 plants
• Photorespiration
• The C4 pathway and its evolution
• The CAM pathway and its evolution
• Engineering photosynthesis to enhance plant productivity
• Light energy capture
• Photo-oxidative stress and photo-inhibition
• Nature of plant diseases and disease resistance; the disease cycle
• Epidemiology: plant disease in populations
• Disease modelling and forecasting
• How plants interact with biotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens
• Plant disease resistance: mechanisms and applications
• Disease control with chemicals; the problem of fungicide resistance
• Biological control of plant diseases
• Group poster presentations on recent research pertaining to topics covered in the module

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion131:0013:00Revision for final exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion17:007:00Poster conference: group poster presentations
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion128:0028:00Poster preparation and reflection.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading252:0050:00Reading scientific literature
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study252:0050:00Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study251:0025:00Lecture follow-up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures explain key concepts and outline illustrative examples. Private study will augment the framework given by lectures and engender depth of understanding through extensive reading of literature citations from recent textbooks and journals with a high scientific impact. Coursework is directed towards preparing information in a concise manner, encouraging teamwork, and developing conference and oral presentation skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M20Group poster presentations
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts outlined by the lectures, enhanced by the depth resulting from additional reading of the scientific literature. The poster and conference will enable interpretation of relevant scientific literature and will focus attention on selected key topics covered in the module.

Reading Lists