ENV BIOL 3230 - Evolution of Australian Vegetation III
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014
General Course Information
Course Code ENV BIOL 3230 Course Evolution of Australian Vegetation III Coordinating Unit School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 5 hours per week Incompatible ENV BIOL 3002 Assumed Knowledge ENV BIOL 2500, ENV BIOL 2501, ENV BIOL 2503 Course Description This course examines the origins and evolution of Australia's unique flora and the way it has been shaped by historical and more contemporary events. Topics will include continental connections and isolation; past climates and geology; past vegetation assemblages and 'ancient' habitats; the unique Tertiary flora; the Palaeocene; Eocene Thermal Maximum; the Quaternary 'filter' and how it has shaped the present day biota; composition of the present day flora including the impact of poor soils and fire; the dominance of Myrtaceae Proteaceae, sclerophylls, and their pollination systems, origins and unique aspects; Australian aquatic and marine angiosperms, the impact of European settlement on the continent's flora. Several major themes will be explored in detail throughout the course, in particular the evolution of pollination systems; adaptations displayed by native plants to arid, nutrient-stressed, aquatic and marine environments.
Course Coordinator: Dr John Conran
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
A successful student in this courses should be able to: 1 Demonstrate the ability to evaluate critically written and visual materials investigating environmental problems relating to the Australian flora; 2 Apply the principles of the scientific method to collect, analyse and interpret data; 3 Present experimental results in a written form that aligns with conventions for scientific reports; 4 Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific basis for current ecological and evolutionary problems affecting the Australian vegetation, including water resources and conservation issues, in an Australian and global context; 5 Discuss scientific matters of current international interest in an informed manner.
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. 1-4 The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-5 An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-5 Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4,5 A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-5 A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 4,5 A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1-5 An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-5
Required ResourcesNo required textbooks. Because this is a diverse and contemporary course, covering issues across a variety of disciplines including ecology, philosophy and politics, no one text book adequately covers all material presented. Instead, relevant course readings, comprising book chapters, current research papers, newspaper and magazine articles, will be made available online at MyUni. A number of additional texts are recommended for further reading, and students will be communicated on MyUni
- Raven, Evert & Eichorn ‘Biology of Plants’ 7th Edition
- Judd, WS, Campbell, CS, Kellogg, EA, Stevens, PF, Donoghue, MJ (2008) 'Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, 3rd Edn.' (Sinauer: Sunderland Mass.)
Online LearningMyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au/).
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
This course will be delivered by the following means:
- 2 lectures of 1 hour each per week
- 1 practical of 4 hours per week
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities Summary
Schedule Week Type of learning activity Topic Week 1 Lecture The origin and evolution of land plants Lecture Introduction to the living Australian vegetation and to the general plant fossil record Practical no prac Week 2 Lecture no lecture Public Holiday Lecture Cretaceous and Palaeogene vegetation in Australia and Antarctica Practical Evolution of leaves and stomata in early land plants and conifers. Week 3 Lecture The fragmentation of high latitude Australian rainforest and the evolutoion of conifers in Australia. Lecture The impact of developing aridity on the Australian vegetation. Practical The response of stomatal morphology to climate change and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Week 4 Lecture The interaction between aridity and low soil nutrients in evolution of the Australian vegetation Lecture The impact of fire on the evolution of the Australian vegetation Practical Biogeography and past vegetation Week 5 Lecture The evolution of vegetation in Antarctica – a special case of extreme climate change Practical Evolution af Australian plants: Systematics and modern evolutionary concepts in green plants Practical Group-based practical at the State Herbarium of South Australia, meet at Uni and walk over to Herbariu Week 6 Lecture Evolution of Australian plants: Deep phylogenetic groups of the flowering plants and their origins Lecture Evolution of Australian plants: systematics, biogeography of the Australian flora Practical Herbarium group-based project Week 7 Lecture Evolution of Australian plants: major groups showing diversity in the Australian flora, global contex Lecture Floral biology: Refugial families Practical Midterm test on lectures 1–12 and prac week 5 Week 8 Lecture Floral biology: Myrtaceae Lecture Floral biology: Proteaceae Practical Herbarium project (Uni laboratory) Week 9 Lecture Floral biology: Sclerophylls Lecture Floral biology: Monocots Practical Pollination biology Week 10 Lecture Floral biology: Carnivorous Plants Lecture Floral biology: Parasitic plants Practical Pollination biology Week 11 Lecture Ethnobotany in the Australian vegetation Lecture Conservation biology and the evolution of Australian plants – Recent fate of old lineages Practical Practical Pollination biology Week 12 Lecture Conservation biology and the evolution of Australian plants -– using phylogeny to value ecosystems Lecture Conservation biology and the evolution of Australian plants – phylogeny within species – phylogeography Practical Plant conservation biology in South Australia Week 13* Lecture no lecture Public Holiday Lecture Conservation biology and the evolution of Australian plants – combining information for prioritisation Practical End of term Test covering material from lectures 13–24, as well as concepts from lectures 1–12 and the practicals in weeks 4 and 11
Small Group Discovery ExperienceThe herbarium based project will be conducted in small groups where each group with explore the taxonomic biodiversity of a major Australian plant family. Assessment will be by individual report at the end of the project
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle (Yes/No) Due Date Outcomes being assessed/achieved Biogeography & past vegetation Formative
15% No Weeks 3-5 1-5 Mid-term test (on lectures 1-12) Summative 25% No Week 7 1,2,4 Herbarium small project report Formative
15% No Week 9 1-5 Pollination project Formative
15% No Week 12 1-5 Final test (on lectures 13-24) Summative 30% No 1,2,4
Practical Reports: (45% of total course grade).
Practical Reports are project based. Students will receive written feedback on each of the practical reports submitted for assessment.
Mid Term Test: (25% of total course grade).
Comprises a combination of short answers and essay questions and will cover the lectures 1-12 with the exception of the project.
End of term Test: (30% of total course grade).
It covers mainly lecture material from weeks 7–12 to ensure summative knowledge of the course, but will integrate concepts and theories from the entire course. It is mainly short answers and essay questions.
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.
*Assignments are due 10 am Monday of the week indicated (or Tues in the case of public holidays) and are to be submitted in hard copy to the Australian Vegetation drop box in the Mawson Building, unless advised otherwise. All assignments must have a signed coversheet/plagiarism declaration (available on the course page on MyUni) or the work cannot be marked.
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.
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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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.
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