ENV BIOL 2510 - Plant Identification II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This short intensive course provides a basic understanding of the diversity of plants and develops specialised technical skills in the identification of vascular plants. The course is taught in the context of the origins of Australian plant diversity with special emphasis on selected and iconic Australian plant groups. Native and introduced plant groups are emphasised in practical studies and some emphasis will be placed on understanding the status of rare, threatened and priority weed plant groups. Field and practical experience will include study of plant diversity of local natural and managed habitats. Skills developed in this course include the description and identification of vascular plants along with a basic understanding of land based non-vascular plant groups. The skills developed will provide a sound basis contributing to investigating evolutionary processes and describing biodiversity.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ENV BIOL 2510
    Course Plant Identification II
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week during 2nd half of the semester; up to 40 hours per week in mid-semester break
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites ENV BIOL 2500
    Assumed Knowledge 6 units of Level I BIOLOGY, Environmental Biology courses or equivalent
    Course Description This short intensive course provides a basic understanding of the diversity of plants and develops specialised technical skills in the identification of vascular plants. The course is taught in the context of the origins of Australian plant diversity with special emphasis on selected and iconic Australian plant groups. Native and introduced plant groups are emphasised in practical studies and some emphasis will be placed on understanding the status of rare, threatened and priority weed plant groups. Field and practical experience will include study of plant diversity of local natural and managed habitats. Skills developed in this course include the description and identification of vascular plants along with a basic understanding of land based non-vascular plant groups. The skills developed will provide a sound basis contributing to investigating evolutionary processes and describing biodiversity.
    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
    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

    1 Demonstrate understanding of the principles and practice of vascular
    plant identification;
    2 Demonstrate understanding of plant taxonomic nomenclature and systems of classification;

    3 Infer the taxonomic status of unknown plant specimens and have the analytical tools to assess their
    conservation or introduced status;
    4 Collect and prepare plant specimens from field for laboratory and other technical analysis;
    5 Provide appropriate plant materials and data for inclusion in national herbarium collections for inclusion in
    research data repositories; and;
    6 Understand processes of vascular plant evolution leading to understanding the origins of existing biodiversity.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    2-6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2,3,6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1,2,4,5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1-5
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2-5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2,4,6
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    The recommended texts assigned to this course are:
    • Plant Systematics, Second Edition, by Michael G. Simpson ISBN: 978-0-12-374380-0
    • It's Blue With Five Petals by Ann Prescott ISBN: 978-0-64-659298-5
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be run as a one week intensive mode in the mid semester break of Semester II, followed by 4 weeks to complete the project component. Prior to the intensive mode component of the course, students will have a series of eLectures to deliver theoretical concepts for the course followed by online learning based tutorials for reinforcement which should be completed in the 2-3 weeks prior to the intensive mode component. Several additional lectures will be delivered during the face-to-face component of the course, followed by tutorial and practical reinforcement. During the intensive mode period, students will engage in small group discovery to develop their small group report to be submitted on the final day of this one week period. Small group discovery will be based around the field trip day run during this week. Practical experience will be gained by students individually and in groups in the use of plant identification keys of various types both electronic and traditional hard copy; dichotomous, character based, technical and visual. Students will also individually learn to provide appropriate material for inclusion in national research infrastructure resources including herbaria and national data sets providing them with foundational skills. Learning activities will include scientific preparation of materials, analysis and interpretation of technical data in correct plant identifications and self-evaluation protocols for assessing accuracy of conclusions drawn.
    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 course is being delivered through a combination of intensive face to face sessions full time for one week and an additional 6 weeks of content delivered flexibly via electronic content or project based work. 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
    This course will be delivered by the following means: Delivery of this course will be through a combination of three different teaching modes:
    a. eLecture series (10 x 1 hour lecture equivalents) and eTutorial sessions (5 x 1 hour tutorial session equivalents in online mode) – this eContent would need to be completed prior to the intensive mode session.
    b. Intensive mode delivery (1 week in the mid semester break); lectures (5 x 1 hour), practicals (12 hours in 4 separate sessions), tutorials (7 hours in 3 sessions) and field trip (8 hours expected to be as a single day trip)
    c. Post intensive mode period; practical sessions (4 x 4 hours post-intensive mode with staff) and tutorials (4 x 2 hour sessions).

    The course content will include the following topics:
    1. Botanical nomenclature, the principles of systematics and taxonomy (including historical context)
    2. Species concepts versus species identification (including historical and theoretical context and its practical application).
    3. Modern taxonomic techniques.
    4. The role of the herbarium and other research infrastructure such as botanic gardens, seed banks and databases.
    5. Fundamentals of plant characters used for modern taxonomy; morphology, anatomy, cytology, DNA characters. Detailed plant character analysis; leaves, flowers and fruits.
    6. Spotting characters for major groups including iconic Australian flowering plant groups, weeds and globally important plant families.
    7. Evolutionary systematics of vascular plants including adaptation and congruence in plant characters.
    8. Advanced plant biodiversity; plant-animal co-evolution, adaptation gradients, the influence of plasticity, applied uses of plant biodiversity, ethnobotany.

    Practical classes will include developing skills in the recognition of plant structures for use in taxonomic identification, the use of taxonomic identification key and other resources, analysis of plant characters for assessment of variability.
  • 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
    Quizzes Formative & Summative Intensive mode week days 2 ,4 & 5 10% 1,3
    Group Presentation Formative & Summative Intensive mode week day 5 20% 2,3,4,6
    Project Formative & Summative End of 4 week post intensive mode period 40% 1-5
    Mid-Semester Test Summative Intensive mode week day 2 10% 1,2,3,5,6
    Final Exam Summative End of 4 week post intensive mode period 20% 1-6
    Assessment Detail
    1. Quizzes (10%)
    Four quizzes testing the skills in plant identification the students have gained will be held, one at the end of each practical session during the intensive mode period of the course. The total for these quizzes will be 10% of their final grade (each quis is worth 2.5%). These quizzes include assessment of the ability of student to not only observe and describe the unknown plant specimens they will need to identify but the correct taxonomy applied.

    2. Presentation (20%)
    The conclusion to the small group experience component of the intensive mode course will be to present the work done in groups to the whole class in a 15 minute presentation (12 mins plus questions). This will require groups to agree on content, complete the work assigned, then present in a structured manner and be able to answer questions about the project. Innovation in presentation style while supporting delivery of technical content will be rewarded.

    3. Project (40%)
    The project will include the collection, collation and identification of plant specimens and preparation of a report to capture the outcomes from their supervised projects.

    4. Exams (30%)
    Mid-semester test (10%)

    A 1 – hour exam during the intensive mode period that will draw on material presented as eLectures and supporting discussions in eTutorials requiring the students to evaluate their understanding of the lecture content. This test will be in the form of a short answer quiz.
    Final exam (20%)
    A 1 – hour exam at the end of the 4 week period following the intensive mode component that will draw on material from both lectures and practicals requiring the students to integrate their learning in short answer and/or short essay-style questions.
    Submission
    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 the assignment 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 late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    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
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