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BIO2202 Plant Physiology

Semester 2, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences

Contents on this page


Examiner: Mark Sutherland
Moderator: John Dearnaley


Pre-requisite: BIO1101

Other requisites

Recommended co-requisite: BIO2103


The aims of this course are to relate the structure of whole plants and their tissues to their known functions and to explore a selection of the major physiological processes which occur during plant growth and development and their interaction with the external environment.


The course is designed to inform a broad spectrum of students in plant science, wine science, biotechnology, ecology and education. The course examines essential processes in the life of plants: water uptake and transpiration; the nutrient requirements of plants; the effects of nutrient deficiencies; the transport of salts, sugars and other biomolecules within the plant; cell growth and development; the roles of plant hormones and the strategies adopted by plants to withstand environmental stresses. The residential school is a compulsory component for this course.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of how the different tissues and organs enable the plant to function as an integrated system, responsive to the interaction of internal and environmental processes;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles governing plant cell growth and the role of individual cell growth and development within the organism;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the effects of major environmental stresses on normal plant functioning and the anatomical and physiological adaptations plants have evolved to tolerate these external factors;
  4. show skills in experimentation with plants in the laboratory and glasshouse;
  5. show improved skills in the written communication of scientific knowledge.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Plant water relationships: water potential and its components, the path of water through the plant, transpiration and water potential. 20.00
2. Plant Nutrition: essential minerals and their function in the plant, mineral deficiencies and availability, solute transport across cell membranes, membrane transport proteins, sugar transport, carbohydrate sources and sinks, the movement of phloem. 30.00
3. Plant Growth and Development: plant cell growth and differentiation, growth and development of vegetative tissues, plant hormones and their action. 30.00
4. Stress and Plant Ecophysiology: leaf surfaces and the role of stomates, adaptations to water stress and water logging, salinity and extremes of temperature. 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Sutherland, MW 2014, Plant Physiology: General Information & Practical Notes,
    (USQ Studydesk.)
  • Sutherland, MW 2014, Plant Physiology: Study Book.
    (<> USQ Studydesk.)
  • Taiz, L & Zeiger, E 2010, Plant Physiology, 5th edn, Sinauer Association, Sunderland, Mass.
    (ISBN 978-0-87893-866-7.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Atwell, BJ, Kriedemann, PE & Turnbull, CGN 1999, Plants in action: adaptation in nature, performance in cultivation, MacMillan Education Australia, Victoria.
    (Free on-line access for study or research purposes to this content is available at:
  • Buchanan, BB, Guissem, W & Jones, RL 2000, Biochemistry and molecular biology of plants, American Society of Plant Physiologists, Rockville, MD.
    (ISBN 0-943088-39-9.)
  • Hopkins, WG & Huner, NPA 2008, Introduction to plant physiology, 4th edn, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
    (ISBN 10 0 470 24766 5.)
  • Marschner P. (ed.) 2012, Marschner's Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, 3rd edn, Elsevier, London.
    ((ISBN: 978-0-12-384-905-2.)
  • Sanita, L & Pawlik-Skowronska, B 2003, Abiotic stresses in plants, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
    (ISBN 1 4020 1648 4.)

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 2.00
Laboratory or Practical Classes 16.00
Private Study 90.00
Report Writing 50.00
Tutorials 8.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
REVISION QUESTIONS SET 1 50 12 21 Aug 2015
REVISION QUESTIONS SET 2 50 13 02 Oct 2015
LABORATORY REPORT A 25 10 12 Oct 2015
LABORATORY REPORT B 25 15 23 Oct 2015
2.0HR RESTRICTED EXAM 120 50 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published. (All four modules)

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as the Residential school) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. To maximize their chances of satisfying the objectives of the practical component of the course, students should attend and actively participate in the Residential School laboratory sessions in the course.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete the assignment satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the assignment. To complete the examination satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the examination. To complete the practical component satisfactorily, students must submit all practical reports and obtain at least 50% of the marks available.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Restricted Examination, candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination; Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner.

  2. Students who obtain an overall passing mark, but who did not perform satisfactorily in an examination, may, at the discretion of the examiner, be granted a supplementary examination. Students will be granted a deferred examination only if they perform satisfactorily in all other assessment items.

  3. In order to attend laboratory classes, students must provide and wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This shall include a laboratory coat, closed in shoes, and safety glasses. Such equipment must be approved by supervising staff. Failure to provide and wear the appropriate safety equipment will result in students being excluded from classes.