Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit seeks to examine the soil as an environment for the growth of plants, and to develop a basic understanding of plant nutrition. The unit integrates knowledge of biological components of soil fertility with the physical and chemical components of soil. The role of soil biota in cycling nutrients for plants and in the development of a suitable environment for plant growth is emphasised. These aspects are considered in the context of soil management to maintain sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forest production, to restore disturbed natural ecosystems and to understand processes in managed and natural ecosystems.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Agricultural Science; Agricultural Science and Technology major sequences
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) understand nutrient cycling in the soil–microbe–plant continuum and soil–plant interactions governing resistance to abiotic stresses; (2) integrate concepts related to soil fertility and land use in sustainable land management; (3) record, analyse, critically assess, present and discuss experimental data; (4) write concise research reports describing the methods used and data acquired, relate them to published knowledge and place them in a broader environmental and social context; and (5) work individually and in groups to solve problems related to soil fertility and land use.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short tests covering the interactive web-based material (10 per cent); (2) a preschedule (5%) and a major report (25%) covering the group project (total of 30 per cent); and (3) a final two-hour written examination (60 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Zed Rengel
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) EART2222 Geomorphology and Soils
or Unit(s) ENVT2250 Ecology
or Unit(s) ENVT2236 Soil Science
Contact hours
lectures: 3 hours per week
practical work: 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.