BIOSCI 205 : Plant, Cell and Environment


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Unlike animals, plants cannot move to respond to changes in their environment. Plants have evolved diverse signaling systems and the ability to grow towards their essential resources. Explores the intricate ways plants function, how they are able to respond to developmental and environmental signals at the whole plant and cellular level.

Course Overview

The course is well suited for students with an interest in primary industry, biotechnology, plant-microbe interactions and/or ecology. The skills learned will prepare students for understanding the challenges plants are facing in a changing world, for growing crops to feed an increasing population while preserving resources and for plant conservation.

The course is designed to develop critical thinking, good scientific writing and presentation skills.

BIOSCI 205 can be taken as part of any BSc Biological Sciences (generic pathway) and is required for the  Plant Biology pathway. It can also be taken as an optional paper for the Ecology pathway.  The course provides a very good foundation for all year 3 plant courses.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 101, 108

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe what the basic structure of a plant is and apply their knowledge of plant structure to interpret, through microscopy, sections of plant material. (Capability 3 and 4)
  2. Describe and discuss how plant hormones affect plant development and how this knowledge is used to reprogram plant development in vitro for plant biotechnology. (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Explain the metabolism that is special to plants. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Prepare plant extracts, determine enzymatic activity, interpret and present data. (Capability 3 and 4)
  5. Describe and discuss how plants adapt their growth to changing environmental conditions and climate change. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Analyse and interpret the effect of different stressors on plant transpiration and stomata aperture on which they will write a report. (Capability 3, 4, 6 and 7)
  7. Compare and contrast different modes of nutrient assimilation by plants (Capability 2, 3 and 4)
  8. Evaluate the different ways plants interact with microorganisms both beneficial and pathogens (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 30% Individual Coursework
Test 35% Individual Test
Final Exam 35% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam
To pass the course, students must pass separately the theory (Test and Final exam) AND the practical component (Laboratories). This  means that students must obtain a grade of C- or higher in BOTH the theory and the practical components of the course.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

For more information and to find contact details for the BIOSCI205 Tuākana coordinator, please see

Key Topics

The course is divided in 5 topics:
1. Plant development and biotechnology: form a single cell to an embryo which will then grow and develop into a mature plant (covers what hormones and important genes are); application to biotechnology.
2. Plant metabolism: covers how plants use solar energy to generate carbohydrates and oxygen from carbon dioxide and how plants assimilate mineral nutrients.
3. Plant-microbe interactions: beneficial and pathogens
4. Mechanisms plants have developed to survive to environmental stresses and how it can impact food production.
5. Ecophysiology: covers light capture in different environments, long distance water transport, ecosystem function in climate change

Special Requirements

Attendance at all five laboratories is compulsory. 

The In-course Test is an evening test, the date and time for the test is published in the BIOSCI 205 Canvas course. 

Students are required to supply and wear a lab coat and safety glasses while in the teaching lab.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 30 hours of lectures, 15 hours of labs, 5 hours of tutorials, 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be taught in person and available online as recordings.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Textbook: Plant physiology and development (2015) Taiz, L., Zeiger, E., Møller, I. M., & Murphy, A. S.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Staff welcome feedback on the course throughout the semester, including the SET evaluations. Please contact your course coordinator or student representative at any time with your feedback.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions.
Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2023 10:50 a.m.