leaf scars

Janice M. Glime jmglime at MTU.EDU
Mon Dec 7 23:54:24 EST 1998

Dear Bruce,
  How exciting to begin a three-year project!  I have never heard of such
an opportunity for someone in the sixth grade, but it will be a wonderful
experience for you.
  I think you can find a lot of information on mold and fungi, but you
need to know the right words to look for.  Given these three factors
affecting plant growth, you need to think about what happens to a plant
when a leaf falls off and leaves a leaf scar.  How does that leaf scar
look compared to the rest of the stem?  What is missing?  and what effect
does it have to be missing this part of the stem?  
  Once you think about that, you can think about how fungi might enter
this picture.  Fungi can cause diseases on trees if they enter the tree
and use some of its energy.  The study of these fungal diseases on trees
is called tree pathology or forest pathology.  There are whole books
written on this topic, and if you have a college or university library
near you, they should have some of these books.  The Forest Service will
probably also have some brochures to help get you started.  You should
also look in your local library to find out what government publications
are available, many of which are free.  The National Forest Service has
lots of information on this topic.  If you have an opportunity to talk to
any lumbermen, they can probably tell you about these topics too.
  Not all fungi cause diseases in the tree.  Some of them are essentiaal
for the tree to get its nutrients and water.  Many kinds of fungi live as
partners with the roots of the tree to accomplish this, and these fungal
associates are called mycorrhizae, with myco meaning fungi and rhizae
referring to the root.  They surround the root and provide lots of extra
surface area for the root to gather water and nutrients.  You can find out
about these in a college botany book.  There are lots of scientific papers
and books written about this topic, and after you have read about them in
a botany book, you might be able to understand some of the books.  You
will probably also find them in an encyclopedia under the topic of
  Have fun with your investigation.  I hope this information will help you
to locate some useful information.
 Janice M. Glime, Professor  
 Department of Biological Sciences
 Michigan Technological University
 Houghton, MI 49931-1295
 jmglime at mtu.edu
 FAX 906-487-3167 

 > > I am a 6th grader beginning my 3 year science investigation.
I have
> chosen the effects leaf scars, mold/fungi, and temperature have on plant
> growth.  The temperature part won't be too bad but the other 2 have been
> difficult to get any info on.  Any leads?  Thanks

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