Courses & Units

Plants in Action KPA214


This unit and the complementary unitKPA215

(Genetics and Evolution) are prerequisites for third-year units in the School of Plant Science. The complementary unit

KPA210is highly recommended;


Plants in Action is a core unit for BSc students interested in specializing in plant science. The unit explores the interaction of plants with the environment at the organism, organ, tissue and cellular levels. We examine the processes of photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, mineral uptake and translocation, and adaptations that enable plants to occupy diverse environments. We also examine the processes controlling plant development (germination, reproductive phase change, dormancy and senescence). The practical component is a combination of experimental work and observation of plant structure, and includes a 2-day excursion to examine plant adaptations in different vegetation types on the East Coast of Tasmania.

Theoretical topics include:

  • Plant Physiology from molecular to environmental

o Nutrients - essential elements and toxicity

o Biological nitrogen fixation

o Plant water relations

o Membranes and molecules

o Photosynthesis - the basic process underpinning plant existence. CO 2 assimilation, RUBISCO and the Calvin cycle

o Photosynthesis - Chloroplast structure, pigments and light harvesting and distribution, PSII and PSI distribution

o Respiration and the Krebs cycle

  • Plant Development and the environment

o Seed dormancy & germination

o Seedling growth

o Growth in response to the environment

o Phase change - vegetative & reproductive

o Dormancy & Senescence

Practical skills include:

  • Microscopy skills, specimen preparation, observational skills, drawing skills
  • Experimental design, interpretation of data, analysis, scientific communication skills (report writing)
  • Field identification skills


Unit name Plants in Action
Unit code KPA214
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School Faculty of SET, AMC, IMAS
School of Biological Sciences
Discipline Plant Science
Teaching staff

Dr RJE Wiltshire (Unit Coordinator), Assoc Prof MJ Hovenden

Level Intermediate
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No


This unit is currently unavailable.


Units are offered as On-campus where the majority of teaching will occur at the campus identified.  Units offered Off-campus generally have no requirement for attendance at a physical university campus unless the unit has practical or fieldwork components*:  the campus indicated for an Off-Campus unit is the one at which teaching is administered from.

*Please read the Unit Introduction in the Course and Unit Handbook for attendance requirements for units offered in Off-campus mode.

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2017 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2017 will be available from the 1st October 2016.

About Census Dates



Band Field of Education

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.



  • KPA161 and KPZ164



Teaching Pattern

2 lectures and 3 hrs practical weekly (13 wks)



TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Information about any textbook requirements will be available from mid November.

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