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The Effect of Temperature on the Speed of Response of Dionaea muscipula

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Introduction

The Effect of Temperature on the Speed of Response of Dionaea muscipula AIM: The aim of this experiment is to establish whether a relationship between temperature and response times of Venus Flytraps exists. ABSTRACT: The idea for this experiment evolved from doing various readings about nastic movements within plants. However, upon investigation, it was discovered that the Venus Flytrap would be better suited to doing studies on response times as the nastic plants required were not available in Queensland. Dionaea muscipula, common name Venus Flytraps, were placed in various temperatures and artificially stimulated, through the use of human hair, to respond. Five Venus Flytraps were bought, each of which had many small, trigger able traps. The size of the trap indicates whether the trap is able to be triggered or not. The reason for this is covered in the discussion section. One trap from each plant was set off at each of the following temperatures: 20°C, 25°C, 30°C and 40°C. Each of the times were recorded in a table similar to Figure 1. HYPOTHESIS: Due to the catalysing effect of temperature on most chemical reactions, it is foreseeable that the Venus flytrap will close faster when placed in a higher temperature. ...read more.

Middle

The neurotransmitters trigger an electrical response in the neuron opposite. This transfer allows for a wide range of movements to be performed by the animal. After extensive research by Paul Simons (1992), it was discovered that the action potentials of plants travel through ordinary cells by means of microscopic membrane pores called plasmodesmata. Animal cells can pass action potentials through in a similar fashion; the pores which allow this to occur are called gap junctions. However, these gap junctions are only used when only one type of movement is required in a particular area. The main difference between animal and plants response is that plasmodesmata can only allow action potentials to travel one way and thus, only one type of movement is possible; in Venus Flytraps, this movement is the closing of the trap. Simons discovered that the actual action potential produced in VFT's is produced through an influx of calcium ions within the trigger hair. This differs from the action potentials of neurons as they are produced by sodium, not calcium. The influx in calcium ions also initiates an efflux of potassium (K+) and chloride (Cl-) ions which are integral in sustaining the action potential as it travels from pore to pore at a speed of approximately 10cm/second. ...read more.

Conclusion

c) The increase in temperature has allowed for a faster influx of calcium ions, thus triggering the action potential faster than what is possible at lower temperatures. d) The increase in temperature has allowed the efflux of potassium and chloride ions to be faster than what is possible at lower temperatures. e) A combination of any or all of the above reasons The fact that the trap is triggered by one touch when the temperature is above 40°C may be a contributing factor to the actual reason. This may be a result of the overall catalysing effect of temperature on chemical reactions and thus, the most likely answer is a combination of c) and d). However, as there are no studies into this directly, it is impossible for a correct final answer to be given at this stage. Further research into acidification and plasmodesmata should be conducted to provide a direct result to this experiment. CONCLUSION: The hypothesis that the plant would respond faster in higher temperatures, proved to be correct. However, whether the catalysing effect of heat on chemical reactions was the only reason for this, could not be established. The history of the Venus Flytraps used may have affected the results. However, the exclusion of the two extreme times from the average means that a fairly accurate time was recorded. ...read more.

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