PLANT SC 2500WT - Microbiology and Invertebrate Biology II

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

An introduction to the biology of microorganisms and invertebrates of importance in agriculture, food, wine and natural ecosystems. Topics to be considered include: microbial growth, energy sources and nutritional categories; form and function of major groups of microorganisms; classification and identification; features of saprophytic, pathogenic, symbiotic and commensal lifestyles; interactions of microorganisms with their environment, including plants and animals; case studies of natural and managed microbial ecosystems; basic concepts of invertebrate taxonomy, physiology and function; external and internal anatomy; reproduction, life cycles, feeding relationships; practical skills for manipulating microorganisms and invertebrates and studying their activities.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PLANT SC 2500WT
    Course Microbiology and Invertebrate Biology II
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Incompatible OENOLOGY 2501WT
    Assumed Knowledge BIOLOGY 1101
    Course Description An introduction to the biology of microorganisms and invertebrates of importance in agriculture, food, wine and natural ecosystems. Topics to be considered include: microbial growth, energy sources and nutritional categories; form and function of major groups of microorganisms; classification and identification; features of saprophytic, pathogenic, symbiotic and commensal lifestyles; interactions of microorganisms with their environment, including plants and animals; case studies of natural and managed microbial ecosystems; basic concepts of invertebrate taxonomy, physiology and function; external and internal anatomy; reproduction, life cycles, feeding relationships; practical skills for manipulating microorganisms and invertebrates and studying their activities.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Eileen Scott

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 explain the role and importance of microorganisms and invertebrates
    2 describe the form and function of bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa
    3 understand the principles of growth and reproduction of bacteria, fungi and viruses, and of identifying and classifying microorganisms
    4 discuss beneficial and deleterious activities of microorganisms in agriculture, food and wine
    5 discuss basic concepts of invertebrate taxonomy, physiology, function and evolution
    6 describe the structure and function of molluscs, platyhelminths, nematodes, annelids and arthropods
    7 discuss reproduction, life cycles and feeding relationships of invertebrates
    8 demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in the recognition and manipulation of key groups of microorganisms and invertebrates
    9 demonstrate effective information handling and communication skills
    10 demonstrate the ability to work in a team

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-10
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-10
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 8-10
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 9-10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 8-9
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-9
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    A lab coat and closed footwear must be worn in every practical session.
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended reading


    Cargill M and Bellotti M (2004) Written Communication in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, The University of Adelaide.

    General microbiology and bacteria

    Madigan MT, Martinko JM et al. (2012) Brock Biology of Microorganisms (13th edition). Pearson. (earlier editions, 2000 onwards, are also suitable).

    Willey JM, Sherwood LM and Woolverton CJ (2014) Prescott’s Microbiology (9th edition). McGraw-Hill. (earlier editions, 2005 onwards, are also suitable).


    Deacon JW (2006) Fungal Biology (4th edition). Blackwell Publishing.

    Gow NAR and Gadd GM (1995) The Growing Fungus. Chapman & Hall.

    Ingold CT and Hudson HJ (1993) The Biology of Fungi (6th edition). Chapman & Hall.


    Hull R (2009 or electronic resource) Comparative Plant Virology (2nd edition). Academic Press.

    Mahy BWJ, Van Regenmortel MVH et al. (2010) Desk Encyclopedia of Plant and Fungal Virology. Academic Press.

    Wagner EK and Hewlett MJ (2004) Basic Virology (2nd edition). Blackwell Publishing.

    Applied microbiology

    Agrios GN (1997, 2005 or electronic resource) Plant Pathology (4th, 5th edition). Academic Press.

    Fleet GH (1992) Wine Microbiology and Biotechnology. Harwood Academic Publishers.

    Fugelsang KC (1996) Wine Microbiology. Chapman & Hall.

    or Fugelsang KC and Edwards CG (electronic resource) Wine Microbiology. Springer.

    Pitt J and Hocking AD (1997) Fungi and Food Spoilage (2nd edition). Blackie Academic Publishers.

    or Pitt J and Hocking AD (electronic resource) Fungi and Food Spoilage (3rd edition). Springer.

    Invertebrate biology

    Barker, GM (ed.) (2001 or electronic resource) The Biology of Terrestrial Molluscs. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. 558 p.

    Barnes RSK, Calow PP, Olive PJW, Golding DW and Spicer JI (2001) The invertebrates: a synthesis (3rd edition). Wiley-Blackwell.

    Edwards, CA, Hendrix P and Arancon N (2008) Biology and ecology of earthworms (4th edition). Springer, New York.

    Harvey, MS and Yen AL (1989) Worms to wasps: an illustrated guide to Australia's terrestrial invertebrates. Oxford University Press.

    Moore J (2006 or electronic resource) An introduction to the invertebrates (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press.

    Naumann ID (ed.) (1994) Systematic and applied entomology: an introduction. Melbourne University Press.

    Ruppert EE, Fox RS and Barnes RD (2004) Invertebrate zoology: a functional evolutionary approach, 7th ed. Thomson-Brooks/Cole.
    Online Learning

    Teaching and course materials will be posted on MyUni ( Lectures will be recorded and posted on MyUni. Tutorial topics will be posted for discussion. A series of videos demonstrating common microbiological techniques will be available on MyUni (Practicals). Interactive pre-laboratory activities using the software Articulate will be used in formative and summative assessment. Online quizzes will be available to help with review and revision (formative assessment).

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures are supported by problem-solving tutorials, online activities and laboratory experiments that develop and reinforce material covered in lectures. Project work in weeks 4-6 allows students to synthesise and apply the skills learned in the course to address a practical problem.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lectures: 2 hours, practicals/tutorials: 4 hours per week
    Reading (lecture material, practical manual) and preparation for practicals and tutorials, including online activities: approximately 6 hours per week
    Preparation of project poster: approximately 6-8 hours (total)
    Revision for exams: approximately 20 hours
    Estimated average weekly workload: 12 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1
    Topic: Introduction and overview of microorganisms
    Lecture: Role and importance of microbiology in agriculture and related areas
    Lecture: Microbial growth and its control
    Tutorial: Overview of course and assessment
    Practical: Microbial culture techniques, use of dissecting and compound microscopes 

    Week 2
    Topic: Bacteria and fungi
    Lecture: Bacteria - form and function
    Lecture: Fungi - form and function
    Practical: Single-celled microorganisms: form and function, methods for counting cells

    Week 3
    Topic: Viruses, Identification and classification
    Lecture: Viruses - form and function
    Lecture: Identification and classification of microorganisms
    Tutorial (small groups): Bacteria and fungi – structure and function
    Practical: Complete work on single-celled microorganisms; Multi-celled microorganisms - form and function

    Week 4
    Topic: Microbial ecosystems
    Lecture: Microbial ecosystems - introduction
    Lecture: Food microbiology
    Tutorial: Introduction to project
    Practical: Project work on beneficial and deleterious activities of microorganisms

    Week 5
    Topic: Microbial ecosystems
    Lecture: Plant-microbe interactions – disease
    Lecture: Plant disease and control
    Practical: Project work (continued, 1 hour); Microbes as pathogens: bacteria, fungi and virus diseases

    Week 6
    Topic: Microbial ecosystems
    Lecture: Plant-microbe interactions – rhizobium
    Lecture: Bioremediation, compost, silage
    Tutorial: Optional tutorial (over lunch): Preparation for mid-semester written exam
    Tutorial (small groups): Review progress in project and discuss assessment
    Practical: Project work (continued)

    Week 7
    Topic: Microbial ecosystems
    Lectures: Rumen microbiology
    Practical: Rumen microbiology

    Week 8
    Topic: Microbial ecosystems
    Lecture: Animal disease
    Lecture: Wine microbiology
    Optional, redeemable mid-semester exam (morning)
    Optional "clinic" on finalising the project poster (after lectures)

    Week 9
    Topic: Invertebrate biology
    Lecture: Overview of invertebrates of importance in agriculture, viticulture and food production, Platyhelminths
    Lecture: Annelida (earthworms and leeches), Mollusca (snails and slugs)
    Practical: Principles and practices for collecting and preserving invertebrates

    Week 10
    Topic: Invertebrate biology
    Lecture: Nematoda (nematodes as animal and plant parasites)
    Lecture: Arthropoda (slaters, millipedes, centipedes)
    Practicals: Worms, snails, slugs and nematodes: anatomy, biology and ecology

    Week 11
    Topic: Invertebrate biology
    Lecture: Arachnida (spides, mites, ticks)
    Lecture: Hexapoda (insects and related organisms)
    Practical: Arthropod identification: anatomy, biology and ecology

    Week 12
    Topic: Invertebrate biology
    Lectures: Hexapoda (insects and related organisms)
    Tutorial:  Preparation for the written exam
    Practical: Invertebrate collection: identification and curation
    Specific Course Requirements
    Attendance at practicals and tutorials is compulsory.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students undertake project work in weeks 4 to 6, inclusive, in groups of 4. Each group selects a topic through which to explore the beneficial and deleterious activities of microorganisms, then plans and conducts experimental work in the laboratory. Each group presents their work as a poster. Students are required to assess their contribution and that of their group members to the project as part of the assessment.

    Each student documents his or her individual contribution through a journal.

    Guidance is provided throughout by academic staff and demonstrators, and exemplars of posters and journals are provided.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary


    Assessment task Task type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Practical report 1, Single-celled microorganisms Formative and Summative During practical 3 5% 2,3,8,9
    Practical report 2, Plant disease Formative and Summative End of practical 5 5% 1,2,3,4,8,9
    Practical report 3, Rumen microbiology Formative and Summative End of practical 7 5% 1,2,3,4,8,9
    Project report, Microbial activities: group poster and individual journal Formative and Summative Before first lecture in week 9 15% 1,4,8,9,10
    Quiz on invertebrate biology practicals 9-11 Formative and Summative End of practical 11 2% 5,6,7,8,9
    Practical report 4, Invertebrate collection and report Formative and Summative Thursday week 13 8% 5,6,7,8,9
    Online quizzes for learning and revision Formative Throughout semester 0% 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
    Optional, redeemable mid-semester theory exam Summative and formative Week 8 (morning) 30% 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
    Final exam Summative Exam period up to 60% 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

    Assessment Related Requirements
    The exam(s) account for 60% of the final mark (40% for microbiology and 20% for invertebrate biology).  Students are offered an optional and redeemable mid-semester exam in week 8 on material covered in weeks 1-6, and the opportunity to review their answers with academic staff. If a student chooses to attempt the mid-semester exam in May and the corresponding section of the final exam (in June/July), the better of the two results will be used to calculate the final mark.

    Attendance at practical classes and tutorials is compulsory.

    To pass this course a student must obtain a final scaled mark of at least 50% and a minimum of 40% in the practical component and 40% in the written exam (hurdle requirements). There will be no opportunity for additional assessment on the practical component of the course.
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment of practical and tutorial work
    Students who miss a practical session should obtain an assignment in lieu from the lecturer in charge and submit it on the date advised.

    Formative assessment. Tutorial classes will include diagnostic and formative assessment, to review information and understanding. Tutorial discussion topics and quizzes will be posted on MyUni.

    Summative assessment and submission of work for assessment. Instructions for format, content and submission of practical reports and tutorial assignments will be provided by the lecturer concerned.

    Practical report 1, Single-celled microorganisms (due during practical 3, 5% of final mark) – individual report, template distributed in practical 1, data entered in practical sessions 2 and 3 and tutorial 2 (tutorial discussion topics are formative); addresses learning objectives 2, 3, 8, 9.

    Practical report 2, Plant disease (due at end of practical 5, 5% of final mark)
    – prepared in pairs, template distributed in practical 5; addresses learning objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

    Practical report 3, Rumen microbiology (due at end of practical 7, 5% of final mark)
    – individual practical report, instructions distributed in practical; addresses learning objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

    Project report (poster and journal), Microbial activities (due 10.10 am on specified date, 15% of final mark) – group poster and individual journal, instructions in practical manual; addresses learning objectives 1, 4, 8, 9, 10

    Practical report 4, Invertebrate biology practicals 1-3 (due at end of practical 11, 10% of final mark) – lab books assessed; addresses learning objectives 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    A completed assessment cover-sheet must be attached to each practical/tutorial report. Practical/tutorial reports are submitted in class unless stated otherwise.

    A student who misses an assessed exercise or whose work is impaired through illness or equivalent may be offered an alternative assessment task.

    Staff endeavour to return marked assessments and provide feedback to students within 2 weeks of submission.

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted, then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    In response to course SELTs in 2011 and 2013, lectures and practicals concerning invertebrate biology have been modified to improve the coverage of organisms and activities important in agriculture, viticulture and food science.

    In response to positive feedback in an informal survey in 2012 and a course SELT in 2013, the optional, redeemable mid-semester exam, which was run as a trial in 2012, is retained.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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