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


This unit explores how plants grow and function, especially in Australian terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. It covers material that should appeal to all students who are interested in plants and their growth. Students discover and become familiar with key processes that are ultimately important for sustainable management of ecosystems. These plant processes include photosynthesis, carbon and nitrogen partitioning, mineral acquisition, plant–water relations, plant responses and tolerance to stress, symbiotic associations and ecological biochemistry. As such the unit is essential for Botany students but should have equal appeal to any area where plants have a central role including Conservation Biology, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Agricultural Science and for students interested in the effects of climate change. The unit provides a solid foundation for students interested in honours, master's, PhD and ultimately a career in any of these areas.

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

Students are able to (1) have a good understanding of the functioning of plants in ecosystems, especially major Australian ecosystems; (2) be aware of the effects of environmental change (salinity, nutrient supply, water availability, temperature, atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate) on functioning of plants and ecosystems; (3) have the ability to think at different levels of integration, from molecular physiology to physiological and systems ecology; and (4) have the capacity for analytical thinking and for the development of logical arguments with respect to plant physiology and ecology.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical assignments and (2) a written examination. 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 Erik Veneklaas and Dr Kosala Ranathunge
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) PLNT2201 Plants in Action (ID 1255)
or Unit(s) ENVT2250 Ecology (ID 1228)
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
Field Trip (estimated cost - Up to $300).
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials: on modelling of ecophysiological processes and to prepare for the field trip
compulsory field trip: 4 days to Eneabba (charges: cost of food and accommodation is borne by the student)

Lambers, H. & Oliveira, R. Plant Physiological Ecology: Springer 2019

  • 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.