Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Important aspects of biodiversity and its conservation in Australia are covered in this subject and represent an introduction to plant ecology and plant systematics. In the component on plant ecology, the broad topic of the effects of environmental and biotic factors on the distribution of plant species is covered. Topics discussed include community assembly, patterns of diversity in space and time, and plant population processes. In the component on plant diversity, the broad topic of the origin and evolution of the Australian flora is covered. Topics discussed include an introduction to plant systematics, the evolution and classification of flowering plants with particular reference to the Australian flora, plant geography of the Australian region and keys and identification of Australian flowering plants. A 4.5 day field trip to far western Victoria is an essential part of the subject.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorAlison Kellow

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites BIO1EEB


Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditions The field trip is an essential part of the subject and reports based on it are used in the final assessment. It is not possible to set alternative work. students will be camping, and need to provide own camping supplies, transport and food, so some costs will be involved, but kept to a minimum. All students must prepare a herbarium collection. Details will be provided at the beginning of the semester. This subject is available as an elective option for students, depending upon quota. Priority enrolment is given to students in the Bachelor of Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology), Bachelor of Science (Botany Major) and Bachelor of Biological Science.


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsBotanical Field GuideRecommendedStefan Mager & Geoff BurrowsMullumbimby, NSW: Aracariaguides, (2011)

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Apply standard plant ecology sampling methods to survey vegetation and effectively communicate patterns of vegetation in a written report.

During the field trip students are instructed on hypothesis testing, field sampling methods/techniques and data analysis, and are given feedback on their group's study design. Students to follow the scientific report format provided. Lectures provide background theory.

02. Preserve and classify botanical specimens consistent with disciplinary standards.

During lectures and/or laboratory classes students receive instruction in the ethics of plant collection, how to prepare plant specimens and reinforce & extend plant identification skills introduced in prac classes.

03. Describe and compare the characteristics and floral morphology of major Australian plant families.

Laboratory classes and lectures - assessed in practical exam

04. Critically evaluate and synthesise scientific information to explain research findings and discuss plant diversity and ecological issues.

Lectures use examples from the scientific literature and students use referencing skills learned in first year.

05. Utilise scientific data to solve real-world plant ecological problems.

Lectures provide the background information to issues and demonstrate the method of developing a logical argument in relation to a particular issue.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2020, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment size90

Enrolment information Merit based quota Preference is given to students admitted in SBSWBB and SBSC (Botany Major) then all other degrees by order of enrolment.

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorAlison Kellow

Class requirements

Field Trip Week: 40
One 4.5 days field trip other recurrence on weekdays during the day in week 40 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Duration 4.5 days during the mid-semester break."

Lecture Week: 31 - 43
Two 1.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Practical Week: 31 - 43
Six 3.0 hours practical per study period on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Practical classes scheduled in weeks 3-6 and weeks 11-12"

WorkShop Week: 31 - 31
One 1.0 hours workshop per study period on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 31 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Workshop Scheduled in week 1"

WorkShop Week: 39 - 41
Two 1.0 hours workshop per study period on weekdays during the day from week 39 to week 41 and delivered via face-to-face.
"Computer workshops pre and post field trip. Weeks 39 and 41."


Assessment elementComments% ILO*
Field Trip Assessment (1,000-words equivalent)20 01, 04
One 2-hour examination (2,000-words equivalent)40 04, 05
Practical Classes and Practical Assessment (750-words equivalent)20 03
Herbarium Assignment (500-words equivalent)10 02, 03
Online Quiz (250-words equivalent)10 04, 05