PLANT SC 2500WT - Microbiology and Invertebrate Biology II

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    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

    Professor Eileen Scott, course coordinator,
    School of Agriculture, Food and Wine,
    Rm N106, Waite Main Building, Waite Campus,
    tel (08) 8313 7266,
    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.

    Triplehorn CA and Johnson NF (2005) Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects (pp. 401-402). Belmont, CA: 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 pages). 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 work that develop and reinforce material covered in lectures. Microbiology project work in weeks 4-6 and invertebrate collection in weeks 9-12 allow students to synthesise and apply the skills learned in the course to address practical situations.

    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 Type of assessment Percentage for grading purposes Hurdle? Approximate
    timing of assessment
    Practical and tutorial exercises Formative and Summative 23% No Weeks 1-3, 5, 7, 9-12
    Microbiology project work Formative and summative 15% No Weeks 4-6, 9
    Quiz on invertebrate biology practicals 9-11 Summative 2% No Week 11
    Online quizzes for learning and revision Formative 0% No Weeks 2-13
    Non-compulsory mid-semester theory exam Formative and Summative 0-30% No Week 8
    Final exam Summative 30-60% Yes Exam period
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance at practical classes and tutorials is compulsory. Students who miss a practical or tutorial session should obtain a replacement assessment from the lecturer in charge and submit it on the date advised. There will be no opportunity for additional assessment on the practical component of the course.

    To pass this course a student must obtain a final mark of at least 50% and a minimum of 40% (24 out of 60 marks) in the written exam (hurdle requirement).
    Assessment Detail

    Written examinations
    Mid-semester examination: there will be a non-compulsory mid-semester examination in week 8, covering material presented in weeks 1-6, potentially making up 30% in total of the final grade for the course. The mid-semester exam will be redeemable in the end of semester exam; there will be a separate section in the final exam (Section A) that will correspond to the material covered in the mid-semester exam. Students may choose not to complete this section in the final exam, in which case the mid-semester exam marks will be used automatically to calculate the final grade and the final exam will have a weighting of 30%. If students attempt both the mid-semester exam and the corresponding section in the final exam, the best mark of their two attempts will be used to calculate the final grade. If students do not attempt the mid-semester exam, then they must attempt the corresponding section in the final exam, in which case the final exam weighting will be 60%.
    Students will be offered the opportunity to review their answers in the non-compulsory mid-semester examination with academic staff. Replacement/alternative assessment is not available for the mid-semester exam except on medical or compassionate grounds.

    Final examination: an end-of-semester written examination will be used to assess, summatively, understanding of the course material. The examination will be divided into three parts:
    A. an optional 90-minute section consisting of questions corresponding to those in the non-compulsory mid-semester exam (potentially 30% if used to redeem mid-semester exam mark);
    B. a compulsory 30-minute section consisting of material covered in weeks 7-8;
    C. a compulsory 60-minute section consisting of material covered in weeks 9-12. 

    Assessment of practical and work

    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, tutorial work and project work will be provided by the lecturer concerned.
    Practical report 1. Single- and multi-celled microorganisms; individual report, template distributed in class, data entered in practical sessions 2 and 3 and tutorial 2, due at end of practical 3, 5% of final mark, addresses learning objectives 2, 3, 8, 9

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

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

    Practical report 4. Invertebrate collection; individual exercise, instructions given in class, due in week 12, 8% of final mark, addresses learning objectives 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Microbiology project report (poster and journal). Microbial activities - experiments and interpretation; presented as group poster and individual journal, instructions in practical manual and tutorial 3, formative review of progress in tutorial 4, due 10.10 am on specified date, 15% of final mark, addresses learning objectives 1, 4, 8, 9, 10

    Quiz. Invertebrate biology practical work; individual assessment task, instructions given in class, held in practical 11, 2% of final mark, 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 a replacement 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 course SELTs in 2013 and 2014, the non-compulsory, redeemable mid-semester exam, which was run as a trial in 2012, is retained.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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