This lab gives students hands-on experience with visualizing the root architecture of plants exposed to varying concentrations of the vital nutrient phosphorus. By maintainingBrassicasp. seedlings in the presence of different quantities of phosphate, students can quantify changes in the number of lateral roots as an example of how the environment influences plant pattern formation. Additional variables in the experimental design, such as the use of plant mutants altered in plant regulator action or the presence of plant regulators in the plant growth medium, allow for exploration of how plant growth regulators are involved in root development. The quantitative and qualitative nature of this nine-day activity provides instructors opportunities to introduce students to various data analyses in botanical study. Additional ties to plant anatomy and the agricultural use of plant growth regulators that alter root development make this activity a rich source of exploration for broadening student exposure to plants and their development.
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Vol. 81 • No. 8