ENV BIOL 3230 - Evolution of Australian Vegetation III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

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.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    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 Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr John Conran

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No 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
    Recommended Resources
    • 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 Learning
    MyUni: 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
    Workload

    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 Experience
    The 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
  • 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 taskType of assessmentPercentage of total assessment for grading purposesHurdle (Yes/No)Due DateOutcomes being assessed/achieved
    Biogeography & past               vegetation         Formative
    Summative
    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
    Summative
    15% No Week 9 1-5
    Pollination project Formative
    Summative
    15% No Week 12 1-5
    Final test (on lectures 13-24) Summative 30% No 1,2,4
    Assessment Detail

    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.

    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.

    Submission
    *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.

    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 (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.

  • 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.