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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Harrison-Pitaniello, Marcia [1].

Imaging Plant Growth: A tool to enhance student learning in plant physiology at all levels.

Plants are not static organisms. However,because humans do not routinely see plant movements, they often believe that plants do not move at all, and are therefore uninteresting. The use of time-lapse image capture allows students to experience the dynamic growth processes involved in both organ development and plant movements in response to environmental changes. The objective of this project was to develop a simple method to capture these images and convert them into movies. The technology for making time-lapse and video imaging is now easily attainable, and is thus fairly inexpensive to set up for high-school or middle school classrooms. Students in Plant Physiology evaluated several types of plant movements for their usefulness in the plant growth imaging project, specifically in terms of timeline, availability of materials, type of software needed, and usefulness in conveying scientific information. To design such a project for slow plant movements, such as root growth, orientation toward the light (phototropism), reorientation to gravity (gravitropism), leaf sleep movement, and flower opening, students first must understand the basic timing and character of physiological responses to ensure that the frames captured would include adequate information for producing an interesting image series and could be used for subsequent analysis. Once those parameters are established, the students can collect the images. In contrast to slow plant movements, rapid movements such as the trap closure of a Venus Fly Trap require video imaging that provides 20-30 frames per second. This imaging needs to be slowed down in order to observe the process. The project also evaluated inexpensive software for image capture and movie-making to ensure that the approach is feasible for most classrooms. This type of exercise can be expanded to more inquiry-based projects. For example, students might examine which colors of light influence phototropism. An additional outcome would be that the student-produced videos could be developed as YouTube or TeacherTube presentations to demonstrate botanical principles. For more advanced projects, frames of image scan be analyzed for plant growth or other parameters. The coupling of time-lapse imaging and image analysis provides students with a deeper understanding of plant growth processes, as well as enhancing interest in plant biology.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Marshall University, Biological Sciences, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV, 25755, USA


Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Battelle South/Convention Center
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: P003
Abstract ID:506

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