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Measuring the effects of wind and light on the transpiration rate in a leaf

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Introduction

Alexander Templet Transpiration Rate in Solanum lycopersicum Biology 156 Summer 2008 Mr. Leith Adams, Instructor ________________ Abstract Plants draw water up through their roots and out through their leaves. This process is known as transpiration. The transpiration rate is a major determining factor in how quickly plants absorb water, and is thus critically important to understand for agriculture. In order to study how varying weather conditions affect the rate of transpiration, we conducted experiments using stems of the tomato Solenum lycopersicum. Our results showed increased transpiration when the plants were subjected to wind and also when subjected to light. Interestingly, wind and light combined did not increase transpiration as greatly as light acting alone. Introduction Plants draw water in through their roots, and then transport it through the xylem up to the branches and leaves. Water exits the leaves through the stomata in the form of water vapor. Polarity causes the water exiting through the stomata to draw after it the water in the xylem, which then pulls in more water through the roots. ...read more.

Middle

Satisfied that there were no leaks, we measured the distance of the water from the tip of the pipette and used this as the zero measurement for our readings. As a control, we first measured the transpiration rate without any simulated weather variables. We measured the distance of the water from the tip of the pipette at five minute intervals for fifteen minutes, giving us three measurements after our zero reading. Each measurement was recorded in millimeters, and once the fifteen minutes were complete, we calculated the average transpiration rate by subtracting the zero measurement from the final measurement. This difference was then divided by fifteen to give the rate of millimeters per minute, and we multiplied this figure by 1.136 to convert our result into microliters per minute. After completing our control set of readings, we flushed the transpirometer again as described above to set it up again for our weather variable. My group was assigned to conduct our second reading using a small electric fan to simulate wind. We placed the fan 30 centimeters from the plant, and blew it onto the leaves while we repeated the process used to measure the transpiration rate in the control. ...read more.

Conclusion

This may be that the wind cooled the plant and thus counteracted the heat of the light, which we believed to be the primary reason why light would increase transpiration. The effect of light on transpiration was thus largely negated when acting in combination with wind. These discoveries are of very real significance for agriculture, where plants must be cultivated and watered to maximize growth. Careful study of how weather affects plant transpiration, and thus water loss, can help farmers determine how much to water their crops to maximize growth without overwatering them. Literature Cited Raven, P. H., G. B. Johnson, J. B. Losos, S. R. Singer. 2002. Biology, Seventh Edition. McGraw Hill, Boston. 1250 pp. Tartachnyk, I. I., and M. M. Blanke. "Photosynthesis and Transpiration of Tomato and CO2 Fluxes in a Greenhouse Under Changing Environmental Conditions in Winter." Annals of Applied Biology 150.2 (2007): 149-156. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Ellender Memorial Library, Thibodaux, LA. 14 July 2008. Vodopich, Darrel S., and Randy Moore. 2002. Biology Laboratory Manual, Seventh Edition. McGraw Hill, Boston. 555pp. Page ...read more.

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