Spring.wmf (18300 bytes) Plant Physiology (Biology 327)  - Dr. Stephen G. Saupe;  College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University;  Biology Department; Collegeville, MN  56321; (320) 363 - 2782; (320) 363 - 3202, fax;    ssaupe@csbsju.edu

Introduction to Time Lapse Movies:  Documenting Plant Growth and Development

 Objectives:  Upon completion of this laboratory you should be able to:

  1.  use the QuickCam Pro digital video camera

  2. create and analyze a time lapse movie

  3. design and conduct an experiment

  4. document the growth and development of a plant

 Overview & Introduction:
            During this lab we will study plant growth and development by making a time-lapse movie with an inexpensive digital video camera (Logitech QuickCam Pro).  Although the images produced by these cameras are not "Discovery Channel" quality, they are certainly adequate for many scientific investigations.  For more information about making time lapse movies and to see the potential of these cameras and others, visit the excellent "Plants in Motion" web site by Dr. Roger Hangarten, Indiana University.   


Lab Activity: 

  1. Select a phenomenon to study.  Choose a response that occurs relatively "quickly" - that is, can be observed in a few days or less.  One possibility is to film different stages of the life cycle of Rapid cycling Brassica rapa (RCBr, Fast Plants).  Alternatively, you could investigate seed germination in various species, root growth, gravitropism, phototropism, nutation, responses of sensitive plants, flower blooming, twining of vines, imbibition of seeds, sleep (rhythm) movements of bean or oxalis plants, sun-tracking, greening in etiolated seedlings, awn movements of porcupine grass, flower opening, guttation, and many others.  Check our text and other sources (i.e., Hart,1990) for ideas.  Darwin's treatise (1888) is a classic look at some plant movements.  Check out R. Hangarten's web site for additional suggestions and procedures.

  2. Complete a Research Proposal form and then meet with me to discuss it and have it approved.

  3. Sign up for a time to conduct your experiment.  Get started as soon as possible.  Donít delay!

  4. Do a dry run of your experiment.  Before you set up the camera and computer you will need to make sure the basics of the experiment will work.  Gather supplies, grow your materials, and conduct the experiment without recording.  Once you work out the "bugs,Ē then make the movie using our QuickCam Pro.

  5. Analyze the movie using ImageJ or other software program.

:  At the conclusion of the experiment

  1. Post your completed movie in our Plant Physiology Public Folder. 

  2. Prepare a standard lab report  (and Lab Report Checklist) that documents your project.  Be sure to include a description of what you did (i.e., the filming technique, lighting conditions, camera settings, identification of the plant and the growth conditions), why you did it (i.e., physiological background), what you observed (i.e., a description of what we will observe in your movie, analysis of motion), and a brief analysis of the results (i.e., did you obtain the anticipated results?).  One report per group.

  3. Prepare an oral report to share your results (including video).  Tips for presenting an oral report are provided.


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Last updated:  01/07/2009     © Copyright  by SG Saupe

Last updated:  01/07/2009 / © Copyright  by SG Saupe / URL:http://www.employees.csbsju.edu/ssaupe/index.html