The objectives of this lab were to understand the characteristics and diversity of plants and to appreciate the function and importance of fungi.
In order to do this, we collected five plant samples from the farm transect. All plants samples were taken from the tomato section of the transect.
The picture below depicts the species of plants that were selected.
We then described the five plants and their location in the transect. In the lab, we were able to categorize the samples according to vascularization, specialized structures and reproduction based on features observed when examining the samples under a microscope. For example, we were able to categorize vascularization based on the presence of xylem and phloem, which transport water and nutrients. All plants characterized were vascularized with seeds, with the exception of a species of fern, which had vascularization but no seeds.
The only specialized structure that was observed was cuticle observed in plants #1 and #3. The cuticle is waxy layer, secreted by the leaves, which functions to retain moisture and prevent desiccation.
The reproductive strategy of each plant was then identified. All plants that were identified as vascularized with seeds were identified to be angiosperms. Plants #1and #3 were dicots while #4 and #5 were found to be monocots. The leaves of the monocots were long and narrow with parallel veins with scattered vasuclar bundles. The dicots, in contrast, had broad leaves and network of veins. The vascular bundles of dicots were in a ring formation. Since these were all angiosperms, they would have flowers, those these structures were not observed. This left only plant #2 as a tracheophyte, which is a gymnosperm.
The following table represents the above information:
The next part of this lab involved observing fungi samples under the microscope.
Sporangia could be observed in a sample of black mold. Fungi sporangia are small, black, globelike structures that are formed from hyphae (whitish mass filaments of mycelium). When hyphae grow upward, they form sporangia, which become black when they mature (thus the name black mold). Cells called spores are within the sporangia and are released when the sporangia open.
We observed several slides and classified them as fungi. As an example, one fungi observed was sketched. It was identified as Rhizopus zigospores, as evident from the root like hyphae called rhizoids.
Through this lab, we were able to see the biodiversity of plants and fungi present even in small portion of our transect.
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