Continuing the seed germination experiment and starting our personal project

March 19, 2024

By Wren and Logan

Seed Germination

The seed germination experiment is something our research stream has been working on since the start of the semester where we have been testing common germination codes on the seeds of different plant species. Previously, our group has been using the germination codes C30 (four weeks cold and moist) and E (two weeks warm and moist followed by two weeks cold and moist) on the species common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and Michigan lily (Lilium michiganense). Before spring break, we removed the seeds from the conditions called for by the germination codes and transferred them into the greenhouse on February 21st to introduce sunlight and warm temperatures. We kept the seeds in their bags with a damp coffee filter so they would have constant exposure to moisture. After one week on February 28th, we checked on the seeds again and found that four seeds sprouted from the common milkweed (E) group. This was surprising as after only one week, four seeds sprouted and they all came from the same group.

Current progress of the seed germination trial.

The sprouted seeds were also a part of an experimental group, as they were not exposed to their recommended germination code of C30. Some of the coffee filters were contaminated with either bacterial or fungal growth, so they were disposed of and replaced with clean filters. The seeds were not observed again until after spring break on March 13th. This time, three more seeds sprouted and they were all from the common milkweed C30 group. There was also more bacterial/fungal growth on some of the coffee filters, so they were replaced. At this point, all of the seeds that have germinated have been from the common milkweed groups, three from the C30 group and four from the experimental E group. In the upcoming weeks, we will remain diligent with our observations of germinations and contaminations as the semester and our experiment comes to a close.

Personal Project

Last week we presented our project titled: Defining the relationship between physiology, through stomal pore index, and the environmental niche of oaks. Through this experiment, we want to learn more about how physiology and environmental niches affect plant physiological evolution. To find the data we will be taking using two red oaks and two white oaks each having one from California and one from Missouri, we will gather three leaves from each plant and measure its stomal pore index (SPI). Once we finish those measurements we will be using R to take raw occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) of each oak and calculate their environmental niche. From there we will compare the SPI to the environmental niche and see if we can find a pattern between the two. We expect to find a relationship between physiology and stomal pore index.

A slide from our research presentation explaining why we chose to research oaks for this project.

Overall we are excited to begin our experiment. We will spend the next two weeks collecting stomatal data and then the next two weeks after that working in R. We will be continuing to check on our seeds every week.

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