Transpiration: Xylem and Plant

Topics: Xylem, Water, Leaf Pages: 4 (1208 words) Published: March 21, 2007
This lab demonstrates how different environments effect the rate of transpiration in plants. A potometer is set up and placed in four different environments: one simply at room temperature (the control), one with a fan pointing toward it creating a gentle breeze, on with a floodlight on it and a beaker felled with water as a heat sink, and one where the leaves are misted then covered with a transparent plastic bag. It is imperative that the tubing doesn't have any bubbles, otherwise the experiment will not work. After it equilibrates for ten minutes, readings are taken every three minutes for thirty minutes to determine how much water was lost. By dividing the amount of water lost by the leafs surface area, the results of the four conditions can be compared accurately. The plant placed in the light transpired the most, followed by room temperature, then the fan and mist. It is evident that water potential greatly impacts transpiration. Since water moves from an area of higher water potential to lower water potential, the drier environments in the lab produced higher rates of transpiration.

Plants lose most of their water through transpiration, which is the evaporation of water from the plant surface. They also lose much of their water through guttation which is the loss of liquids from the ends of vascular tissues at the margins of the leaves. It is imperative that this water lost is replaced; otherwise the plant will wilt and most likely die. Water from the roots in the xylem travels up from cell to cell and over long distances in the plant to replace lost water. This process is governed by the differences in water potential. More water potential means that there are more free water molecules available, and thus more potential energy. The factors contributing to water potential are gravity, pressure and solute concentration. Water always moves from an area of higher water potential to an area of lower...

Bibliography: The College Board, Advanced Placement Program. Biology Lab Manual. 2001
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