User:Charlotte E. Vogler/Notebook/Lab 4: Plantae and Fungi, Transect 2 on 7/10/14

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Lab 4: Plantae and Fungi, Transect 2 on July 10, 2014

Introduction, Purpose, and Objectives

Today’s lab focused on the subjects of Plantae and Fungi. We identified and studied multiple organisms in order to meet our two objectives: first, to understand the characteristics and diversity of plants, and second, to understand the function and importance of fungi. During this lab, we collected five samples and leaf litter from our transect, which will be later used to identify invertebrates in the area. After collection, the samples were brought back to the lab to study and determine their properties and characteristics. By studying multiple organisms found within transect 2 along with samples provided in lab of different plants and fungi, we were able to meet our objectives.

Materials and Methods

This lab was divided into six separate procedures, so I will list the procedures below and include their individual materials and methods.

I: Collecting 5 Plants Samples from the Transect

For this procedure, we headed to transect 2 and obtained a leaf litter sample of about 500g. The sample included dead leaves, soil, a pinecone, and samples of the ground cover.

II: Plant Vascularization

In this procedure, we compared Mnium moss with the stem of a lily (angiosperm). These were provided in order for us to examine the characteristics within plants that allow for vascularization.

III: Plant Cell Specialization

For this procedure, we examined the leaves of mosses and angiosperms in order to find specialized parts that make up the anatomy of different types of plants. This was helpful in determining the types of plants found in transect 2.

IV: Plant Reproduction

In this procedure, we viewed Polyrichum, a moss, under the microscope. From there, we were able to view the Male Minimum antheridum at 4X and the Female Moss Minimum Moss archegonium at 4X and observe the differences. This procedure also required that we dissect lab seeds in order to determine whether they were monocot or dicot.

V: Observing Fungi

During this procedure, we studied samples of fungi in order to see how it grew. We studied Rhizopus stolonifer, a common black bread mold and viewed its sporangi and rhizoids.

VI: Setting Up the Berlese Funnel to Collect Invertebrates

This procedure was intended to prepare for lab on 7/15/2014. We created a Berlese Funnel in order to observe invertebrates living on our transect. We did this by pouring 25ml of 50:50 ethanol/water solution into a 50mL tube, fitting screening material into a funnel, and adding our leaf litter into the funnel. The funnel was situated onto a ring stand and left under light for a week.

Data and Observations

Lab Information (red box questions) for Procedures I, II, and III is addressed in table 1. Table 1 represents the 5 plants studied from Transect 2.

Table 1: Transect Plants #1-5 from Transect 2


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Procedure IV:

We only brought back one seed from our transect, which was a pinecone. This was not dissected to determine whether it is monocot or dicot because we used it for our Berlese Funnel. There was no evidence of flowers or spores.

Procedure V:

Fungi sporangia are “fruiting bodies involved in asexual production of spores” (; they are important because they are required for fungi reproduction and survival. A provided sample of Rhizopus stolonifer (zygomycota group) was observed under a dissecting microscope. Small black spots were identified as sporangia. We also flipped the dish to view the underside of the fungi where we could view the rhizoids, or the “roots” of the fungi. We viewed Rhizopus zigospores (zygomycota group) as well.


Final Procedure: Our final procedure was to take our PCR examples from the previous lab and perform a gel electrophoresis. A ladder, along with 5 microliters of our dyed PCR bacteria sample was loaded into a gel for further study.

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Conclusions and Future Directions

It is difficult to identify exactly what type of plants are located in our transect. Sample #3 is easily determined as a cluster of pine needles from a low-hanging branch of a pine tree. However, samples 1, 2, 4, and 5 are all very similar and more difficult to name. This is likely because they seem to be naturally occurring, so many similar species will live within the same area. Sample 1 is likely a Maianthemum racemosum, or "False Solomon's Seal," as it matches the description (long, flowering, with complimentary leaves) and is common in North America. Sample 2 is unknown at this time. Upon first sight, I believed it to be a maple leaf; however, further observation has left me without a conclusion. Further testing would need to be done to determine what type of plant this leaf comes from. Sample 4 seems to be Polygonatum, a species related to sample 1. This would make sense because related species can often occupy the same niche. Finally, sample 5 closely resembles many different ivy species, but further testing would need to be done to determine which species it is.

In next weeks lab, we will determine what types of invertebrates are living inside of our transect through the use of our berlese funnel. We will also discuss our PCR and gel electrophoresis results.

Extra Photos

Below are extra photos from different procedures in lab.

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