Courses Catalogue

Ecophysiology And Biomonitoring

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Environmental Science
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Elective
PROGRAMME TYPE: Postgraduate

Course Description

This course explores interactions between plants and their environment from a physiological perspective. It will consolidate and extend knowledge of the processes involved in the acquisition and transport of resources by plants and use this knowledge to examine the ways plants have adapted to a range of environments, some of which can be considered as extreme. The course will also look at how plants respond to environmental challenges such as climate change, salinisation and heavy metal toxicity. Interactions with other organisms will also be examined including parasitic plants. biomonitoring through bacteria, yeast, cyanobacteria, harvesting saline and arid soil is also discussed.


This is a key course for plant biologists, environmental scientists and biotechnologist, as knowledge of plant ecophysiology is crucial for our understanding of plant and ecosystem function and designing sustainable bioproduction systems. The course delivers in-depth understanding of plant adaptations to the environments that characterisenature.


By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Explain the concepts of plant resource acquisition, plant energy budgets and plant water relations and plant to symbionts and parasite interactions.
  • Explain how these concepts help understand ecological systems with a particular focus on the South Australian context.
  • Acquire then demonstrate the skills to design and undertake experiments in the laboratory and in the field using cutting edge analytical equipment.
  • Work collaboratively to undertake experiments in the laboratory and in the field produce written reports and deliver oral reports.
  • Collect, analyse interpret and present field data in the format of a peer reviewed scientific report as well as discuss the finding in the context of the current literature.
  • Demonstrate confidence in self-directed learning through the production and presentation of a lecture topic.


A doctoral student completing the course is expected to:

  • Recognise and describe plant adaptations to diverse environments
  • Link ecological adaptations with molecular functions in plants
  • Describe possible effects of climate change on plant and ecosystem processes
  • Critically review research papers and news releases relating to current issues in plant ecosystem functions
  • Work effectively as part of a team to investigate plant adaptations to stressful environments
  • Lead a discussion on current issues in plant ecosystem function
  • Communicate outcomes of plant adaptations experiments clearly and concisely through oral presentations and through the writing of a scientific report