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Plant Biology

Course Code: BIOL 3500
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab, Tutorial
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course will examine the origins, evolution, diversity, anatomy, physiology and ecology of non-vascular plants, vascular plants, protists and fungi. Laboratory exercises will emphasize form, function, and biological diversity.

Course Content

1. An Introduction to Botany

  • Evolutionary origins of plants
  • Evolution of plant communities
  • Human impacts on plant evolution and diversity

2. Biology of the Plant Cell

  • Molecular composition of plant cells
  • Structure of the plant cell
  • The cell cycle
  • Movement of substances in and out of cells

3. Plant Energetics

  • Enzyme activity and regulation
  • Respiration
  • Photosynthesis

4. Plant Genetics and Evolution

  • Asexual and sexual reproduction in plants
  • Heredity and gene expression
  • Recombinant DNA technology, biotechnology and genomics
  • The process of evolution
  • The tree of life

5. Fungal and Protist Diversity

  • Taxonomy, nomenclature and classification
  • Diversity of fungi
  • Diversity of protists

6. Plant Diversity

  • Diversity of non-vascular plants (bryophytes)
  • Diversity of seedless vascular plants
  • Diversity of gymnosperms
  • Diversity of angiosperms
  • Evolution of the fruit and flower
  • The coevolution of plants and their pollinators

7. The Structure and Development of Angiosperms

  • Early development of the plant body
  • Cells and tissues of the plant body
  • Structure and development of the root
  • Structure and development of the shoot
  • Secondary growth in stems

8. Plant Physiology

  • Hormones and the regulation of plant development
  • External factors and plant growth
  • Plant nutrition and soils
  • The movement of water and solutes in plants

9. Plant Ecology

  • Ecosystem energetics, nutrient and material cycling
  • Communities and ecosystems, global ecology and biomes

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Practical laboratory work is integrated with the lecture material
  • Group discussions
  • Field trips/observations and/or video observation
  • Self-study via print or online materials
  • Reading assignments
  • Group projects

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Lab Practical & Examination 15-30%
Class and Term Assignments 15-25%
Midterm Examination 20-30%
Final Theory Examination 30-40%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the evolutionary origins of plants, and to appreciate the diversity in form and function of the fungi, protists and the major lineages of land plants.
  2. Describe the composition, structure and function of the plant cell.
  3. Explain the physiological processes of plants and their relationships to plant anatomy and structure.
  4. Describe the genetics, systematics, and evolution of plants.
  5. Define the development and structure of the angiosperm plant body.
  6. Identify and describe the impacts humans have had on plant evolution and diversity, and to gain an understanding of the impacts plants have on humans.
  7. Explain the ecology of plant communities, ecosystems and biomes.

course prerequisites

(BIOL 1110 and BIOL 1210) or BIOL 1310


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.