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

Independent Research Project:  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 using the Logitech QuickCam Pro.   Essentially you and your team-mates will choose a phenomenon to study that can be analyzed using time lapse imagery, design and conduct your experiment, and then present your results to the class. 


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.  Some possible topics include:  stages of the life cycle of Rapid cycling Brassica rapa (RCBr, Fast Plants), 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, and guttation.  Note that we also have the ability to monitor movements in the dark (one of our cameras is modified to "see" IR.  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 the Plant Physiology Movie Page or the Plants in Motion (R. Hangarten) web site for additional suggestions and procedures.  Further, our discussions about the Plant Way of Life and "intelligence" in plants should provide many ideas.

  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.  Don�t delay!  Remember, we only have two available setups for your use and priority is given to those groups that have reservations.  

  4. You must 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,� then make the movie using our QuickCam Pro.

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

:  At the conclusion of your experiment:

  1. 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.  Post your final report, MS Word format, in our Public Folder.

  2. Post your completed movie(s) in our Plant Physiology Public Folder. 

  3. Prepare a web page that summarizes the results of your experiment.  Post this file in our Public Folder.  This will be linked to the plant physiology web page. 

  4. 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