Plant Systematics and Evolution

Subject 606-303 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Lectures and practical work, including a one day excursion

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 lectures (two per week), 24 hours practical work, one-day excursion
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours total time commitment.

Plant Biodiversity or Flora of Victoria.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof Pauline Yvonne Ladiges
Subject Overview:

This subject will introduce the general principles and modern methods of systematics: how to discover the phylogeny (relationships) of organisms using both morphological characters and molecular (DNA) data; how to use this information to improve the classification systems of plants and fungi; how to study aspects of evolution, coevolution and historical biogeography; and how to integrate information from living and fossil plants to discover the past and date evolutionary events. Examples of the diversity and evolution of Australian plants and fungi - both fossil and living forms - will be used throughout this subject. Topics studied include:

  • homology and form;

  • numerical methods in systematics, phenetics and cladistics;

  • historical biogeography;

  • evolution of vascular plants, especially gymnosperms and angiosperms;

  • fossils;

  • fungi.


At the completion of the subject, students should gain:

  • a knowledge of modern methods of phylogenetic systematics, including the application of morphological and molecular data;

  • skills in analysing systematic data, including the use of computer interactive programs; and

  • a knowledge of the evolution and diversity of Australian flora, both living and fossil groups of plants and fungi.


A 1500-word essay (15%) and a 2000 word practical report (15%) due during the semester; a 3-hour written examination in the examination period (70%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 BSc), BASc or a combined BSc course will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

Previously known as Systematics of Plants and Fungi and Botany Systematics and Evolution.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Botany

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