Experiments in plant diversity

Geeta Bharathan geeta at life.cc.sunysb.edu
Sun Feb 28 09:21:55 EST 1999

I am in the process of developing labs for a course on (green) plant
diversity. The course will be taught in an evolutionary framework. I would
like to demonstrate both commonality and variation in function and relate
these to morphology and anatomy. What I have in mind are simple
physiological experiments to show that there is, indeed, a connection
between structure and function in organisms other than angiosperms.

None of the lab manuals I've looked at seems to have exercises of this
sort, even though it should be feasible. For instance, one can use dyes
to track the movement of water in a range of plants -- mosses, ferns,
lycopods -- and show its presence in the xylem or elsewhere.

  What other processes are relatively simply demonstrated? Stomatal
movement? is it even possible to make epidermal peels of non-angiosperms?

  What are the best materials for such demonstrations (we have lots of
Marchantia, Selaginella, Psilotum, and sundry ferns growing in our

I'd be grateful for any ideas/leads.

 Geeta Bharathan
 Assistant Professor
 Department of Ecology and Evolution
 State University of New York
 Stony Brook, NY 11794-5245

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