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.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Humans place significant pressures on our environment. Population increases cause the release of contaminants, the need to rehabilitate degraded environments as well as the need to ensure nutritious food production with greater efficiency. One central requirement to these environmental pressures is the need to monitor factors such as environmental degradation, the trajectory of rehabilitation efforts and the ability to measure the health of food productions systems. This unit focuses on the recent biotechnology solutions to these requirements, from utilising microbial based toxicity sensors, the construction of highly specific biosensors for detecting key environmental agents through to whole system sensing using chemical, biological and ecological approaches. Particular attention is placed upon novel biological based strategies to detect pollutants in soils and water courses, measuring the release from toxicity in rehabilitation efforts and the adoption of targeted biosensors.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) evaluate and compare the means by which sensing agents can be designed and the biotechnological approaches employed in microbes, animals and plants for environmental sensing and their current practical usage; (2) demonstrate practical experience of developing and deploying a recombinant sensor to detect a specific pollution event; (3) design field scale approaches used to ensure adequate tracking of environmental rehabilitation and constraint release from a chemical, biological and ecological standpoint; and (4) describe the use of chemical and biosensing agents in cropping and plant production systems, the current state of art and future developments.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) biosensor design and sensing applications online quiz; (2) biosensor production & diffuse pollution mapping practical; and (3) large scale field site case study employing student measures. 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)
Dr Sasha Jenkins
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) BIOC4002 Fundamentals of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials: 2 hours per fortnight
field trips/practical work: 4 hours per fortnight
  • 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.