To see how different environmental conditions affect transpiration of a leaf and which side of the leaf transpires the most. Background Information
Plants put down roots into the soil to draw water and nutrients up into the stems and leaves. Some of this water is returned to the air by transpiration (when combined with evaporation, the total process is known as evapotranspiration). Transpiration rates vary widely depending on weather conditions, such as temperature, humidity, sunlight availability and intensity, precipitation, soil type and saturation, wind, land slope, and water use and diversion by people. During dry periods, transpiration can contribute to the loss of moisture in the upper soil zone, which can have an effect on vegetation and food-crop fields. Plant transpiration is pretty much an invisible process—since the water is evaporating from the leaf surfaces, you don't just go out and see the leaves "sweating". Just because you can't see the water doesn't mean it is not being put into the air, though. During a growing season, a leaf will transpire many times more water than its own weight. An acre of corn gives off about 3,000-4,000 gallons (11,400-15,100 liters) of water each day, and a large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) per year. The amount of water that plants transpire varies greatly geographically and over time. There are a number of factors that determine transpiration rates: * Temperature: Transpiration rates go up as the temperature goes up, especially during the growing season, when the air is warmer due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the openings (stoma) where water is released to the atmosphere to open, whereas colder temperatures cause the openings to close. * Relative humidity: As the relative humidity of the air surrounding the plant rises the transpiration rate falls. It is easier for water to evaporate into dryer air than into more saturated air. * Wind and air movement: Increased movement of the air around a plant will result in a higher transpiration rate. This is somewhat related to the relative humidity of the air, in that as water transpires from a leaf, the water saturates the air surrounding the leaf. If there is no wind, the air around the leaf may not move very much, raising the humidity of the air around the leaf. Wind will move the air around, with the result that the more saturated air close to the leaf is replaced by drier air. * Soil-moisture availability: When moisture is lacking, plants can begin to senesce (premature ageing, which can result in leaf loss) and transpire less water. * Type of plant: Plants transpire water at different rates. Some plants which grow in arid regions, such as cacti and succulents, conserve precious water by transpiring less water than other plants. In many places, the top layer of the soil where plant roots are located is above the water table and thus is often wet to some extent, but is not totally saturated, as is soil below the water table. The soil above the water table gets wet when it rains as water infiltrates into it from the surface, But, it will dry out without additional precipitation. Since the water table is usually below the depth of the plant roots, the plants are dependent on water supplied by precipitation. As this diagram shows, in places where the water table is near the land surface, such as next to lakes and oceans, plant roots can penetrate into the saturated zone below the water table, allowing the plants to transpire water directly from the ground-water system. Here, transpiration of ground water commonly results in a drawdown of the water table much like the effect of a pumped well (cone of depression). Hypothesis
We would expect the following results –
* Control – Should lose most water (and mass) because all stomata (on under and upper side) are exposed to...