NOTE: For this experiment, you'll be testing the same hypotheses, but you will leave the lab behind and venture outside to explore plant adaptations in the local environment. For safety, make sure to wear proper clothing and sun protection if needed.
Once your instructor has taken you to the designated outdoor location, try to identify plants in each of the three major groups: non-vascular, seedless vascular, and seeded vascular.
Using Table 2, fill out information for at least 10 plants listing the major group, specific adaptations and a brief sketch for each. Click Here to download Table 2
Where possible, try to identify different adaptations than the ones we've discussed so far. These include traits such as leaf size and shape, plant height, or flowers. To find plants of all three major groups, you may need to look in more than one location or habitat.
Before returning to the lab, each group member should collect a leaf, flower or other structure from a plant of their choosing for further analysis.
Back in the lab, place the one group member’s specimen on the stage of the dissecting microscope.
Next, find the light switch and turn it on to illuminate the sample.
Similar to the compound microscope, you will next need to adjust the fine focus knobs to bring the sample into view.
For leaves, view the stomata under maximum magnification. These will look like very small dots on the surface of the leaf.
Next, tear the leaf in half and see if you can find the clear cuticle that covers the surface of the leaf.
Examine the venation of the leaf, which allows for transport of resources.
When observing flowers, look for pollen, which will appear as yellow dust on the anthers of the flower.
Next, identify the stigma, a long structure protruding from the flower and ending with a round sticky tip. This is where pollen would land allowing sperm to travel down to the ovule at the base of the flower to form a seed.
Notice whether or not there is evidence of a fruit or seed in the base of the flower.
Make a sketch of each of the samples within your group.
When the exercise is complete, turn off the light on both microscopes. Remove the prepared slide from the stage of the compound microscope and return it to the instructor.
Finally, remove the samples you collected from the dissected microscope and discard them into the trash and clean the microscope stages, if necessary.