# Leaf Structure and Transpiration

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1 10 LESSON Leaf Structure and Transpiration INTRODUCTION Have you wondered what happens to all that water that disappears from the reservoir of your growing system? Although some might have evaporated from the soil, you are probably aware that much of it is absorbed by the roots of your Fast Plants. But where does it go from there? Is it all used by the plant? Does any water escape from your plants? If so, how? Let s find out. OBJECTIVES FOR THIS LESSON Leaves provide food and shade as well as fun, but what function do they serve for the plant? JOEL SARTORE/CORBIS Determine the change in volume of nutrient solution in the reservoir of your growing system over 24 hours. Determine whether there is a relationship between the volume of nutrient solution that passes through your Fast Plants growing system in 24 hours and the number of leaves on the plants. Observe and draw a stomatal unit from the epidermis of a lettuce leaf. Use a model to demonstrate how guard cells operate to form a stoma. Explain how the structure of a dicot leaf helps control the water flow in a plant. Learn about photosynthesis, the process during which green plants produce glucose and release oxygen into the air. Update your organism photo cards for Lemna and Wisconsin Fast Plants. 120 STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O

2 Getting Started Remove the planter from the reservoir of your growing system. Empty the nutrient solution from the reservoir into the graduated cylinder until it reaches the 250-mL mark. Discard any solution remaining in the reservoir. If you have less than 250 ml of nutrient solution in the graduated cylinder, add more until it contains exactly 250 ml. Pour the 250 ml of nutrient solution into the reservoir and replace the planter. Record the volume of nutrient solution that is now in the reservoir in the space provided on Student Sheet With your group, count the total number of leaves on the Fast Plants in your growing system. Record this number in the space provided on Student Sheet MATERIALS FOR LESSON 10 For you 1 copy of Student Sheet 10.1: Template for Stomatal Unit Drawing 1 copy of Student Sheet 10.2: Stomatal Unit Model 1 copy of Student Sheet 10.3: Transpiration in Wisconsin Fast Plants For your group 1 Fast Plants growing system 1 set of organism photo cards 2 plastic slides 2 coverslips 2 compound light microscopes 2 plastic pipettes 1 piece of string, 12 cm Tap water 1 plastic cup, 16 oz 1 piece of dialysis membrane, 30 cm 2 pieces of lettuce leaf 2 Lemna plants mL graduated cylinder 2 scalpels 2 dissecting needles STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O 121

3 LESSON 10 L E A F S T R U C T U R E A N D T R A N S P I R AT I O N Inquiry 10.1 Observing and Drawing a Stomatal Unit From the Epidermis of a Lettuce Leaf PROCEDURE Follow the steps in Figure 10.1 (see next page) to prepare a lettuce leaf membrane to view under the microscope. Focus on the epidermis with your microscope under low power (100 ). Locate a stomatal unit, which will look like a small, bright eye among the larger epidermal cells of the membrane. Center a stoma in the field of view then switch to high power (400 ). Draw and label the stoma, guard cells, and nuclei in the circle on Student Sheet 10.1, using Figure 10.2 and Looking at Leaves at the end of this lesson as a reference. Title your drawing Stomatal Unit Discard the lettuce membrane and rinse your slide and coverslip. Obtain a Lemna plant from the culture container. Place the plant on the slide with the roots facing down. Add a coverslip. Focus on the upper epidermis of the leaf under low power; then switch to high power. Move the slide to locate the stomata. Most dicot leaves, including those of Fast Plants, have the majority of their stomata on the lower epidermis. Discuss with your group why a Lemna leaf has most of its stomata on its upper epidermis. Complete the Reflecting on What You ve Done questions on Student Sheet COURTESY OF CAROLINA BIOLOGICAL SUPPLY COMPANY Figure 10.2 Each stomatal unit is composed of two bean-shaped guard cells and the stoma, or opening, between them, as seen in this epidermis of a lily leaf magnified 400 times. 122 STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O

4 LESSON 10 LEAF S T RUC TURE AND T RANS P IRATION 1. Use a plastic pipette to place a drop of water in the center of a plastic slide. 3. Ease the thin portion of epidermis onto the drop of water on the plastic slide while it is still connected to the piece of lettuce. Use your scalpel to detach the membrane from the larger piece. If you have difficulty doing this, ask your teacher for help. 2. Take a small piece of a lettuce leaf and bend it against the curve until it snaps. Then slowly move one side under the other so that a clear, thin portion, or membrane, of the epidermis is peeled off and hanging from one of the sides. 4. Use the tip of your dissecting needle, if necessary, to spread the membrane out on the slide. Add a coverslip. Figure 10.1 Preparing a slide of a membrane of a lettuce leaf STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O 123

5 LESSON 10 L E A F S T R U C T U R E A N D T R A N S P I R AT I O N Inquiry 10.2 Preparing a Model of a Stomatal Unit PROCEDURE 1. Put about 5 cm of tap water into your 16-oz plastic cup. Obtain a membrane from the container, submerge it in the water in the cup, and take it back to your desk Remove the membrane from the water. Fold it in half so that the two ends meet. Rub one end of the membrane between your thumb and index finger until it opens into a tubular shape, as shown in Figure Remoisten it as necessary to keep it open. Repeat this to open the other end of the membrane. Ensure that both halves of the membrane are open at the top. Take it to your teacher. Hold both ends of the membrane open and facing upward while your teacher adds a green sugar solution to the membrane until it is about twothirds full, as shown in Figure Figure 10.3 While the end of the membrane is still moist, rub it between your thumb and forefinger until it opens into a tubular shape. Figure 10.4 Hold the ends of the membrane firmly while your teacher fills it two-thirds full with sugar solution. Can you guess why the solution has been dyed green? 124 STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O

6 LESSON 10 LEAF S T RUC TURE AND T RANS P IRATION Figure 10.5 Make sure you tie the string very tightly to prevent leakage. 4. Twist the open ends of the membrane together to take up the slack. Then tie them together with string at the point where the twist stops and the liquid starts, as shown in Figure Rinse the outside of the membrane and the plastic cup thoroughly with tap water. COURTESY OF HENRY MILNE/ NSRC Lay the membrane in the plastic cup. Position the membrane so that the two sides are flush against each other. Add fresh tap water to the cup to a depth of about 2 cm. After being positioned in the cup, your membrane should appear as in Figure Let the membrane sit in the water until your teacher directs you to observe it again. Then draw your observations on Student Sheet 10.2, and answer the questions under Reflecting on What You ve Done on the Student Sheet. Figure 10.6 The two membranes should be flush against each other, with no space between them. STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O 125

7 LESSON 10 L E A F S T R U C T U R E A N D T R A N S P I R AT I O N Inquiry 10.3 Exploring Transpiration in Wisconsin Fast Plants PROCEDURE Use your graduated cylinder to measure the volume of nutrient solution remaining in the reservoir of your growing system after 24 hours. Use this figure to determine the volume of water that passed into the reservoir. Record your data in the appropriate boxes on Student Sheet Replenish the nutrient solution and return the growing system to the plant light house When all groups have transferred their information to the transparency, add their data to your student sheet. Plot each group s data on the graph on Student Sheet Then answer the questions that follow the graph. Work with your group to update the organism photo cards for Lemna and Wisconsin Fast Plants with new information from this lesson. 3. Have a member of your group transfer your information to the transparency provided by your teacher. COURTESY OF CAROLINA BIOLOGICAL SUPPLY COMPANY Figure 10.7 Where are the leaves on this cactus plant? Why does this plant not need broad, flat leaves such as those on the Fast Plants? 126 STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O

8 LESSON 10 LEAF S T RUC TURE AND T RANS P IRATION COURTESY OF CAROLINA BIOLOGICAL SUPPLY COMPANY Figure 10.8 This tree has leaves of many beautiful colors. Why do you think leaves change color in the fall in certain climates? REFLECTING ON WHAT YOU VE DONE Review Looking at Leaves, the reading selection that follows. Respond to the following on your student sheets. A. What evidence did you find that the lettuce you observed is a leaf? B. What service does transpiration provide for plants? C. What substances enter or exit a plant s leaves through the stomata? D. Why do you think Lemna form their stomata in the upper epidermis? E. Explain how guard cells operate to form a stoma. F. Compare what happened to the guard cells in the model of the stomatal unit with what happened to the cells of the Elodea leaf that you observed soaking in salt solution during Lesson 7. G. Use the graph on Student Sheet 10.3 to estimate the average volume of nutrient solution that passed from the reservoirs into the planters in 24 hours. H. Use the graph to determine whether a relationship exists between the number of STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O 127

9 LESSON 10 L E A F S T R U C T U R E A N D T R A N S P I R AT I O N leaves on the Fast Plants and the volume of nutrient solution that entered the planter in 24 hours. Explain the relationship, if one exists. I. Explain why you think the number of leaves on a plant would affect the amount of transpiration that occurs. J. Describe two ways in which you think Wisconsin Fast Plants use the nutrient solution absorbed by their roots. K. How does the control growing system help prove that most of the water escapes through the plant? 128 STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O

10 LESSON 10 LEAF S T RUC TURE AND T RANS P IRATION Looking at Leaves Veins Blade Petiole If you live in a region with cold winters, you know what happens in spring. The air gets warmer; the days get longer. Green plants sprout in the garden and along roadsides. Everywhere you look outside, you see green as plants reveal their hidden treasures leaves. Leaves come in many shapes, sizes, and textures. But however different leaves may appear, their parts work in similar ways to accomplish their main task making food for plants. Plants need food and water to survive and grow. Let s take a look at how the parts of a leaf work I together to produce food and help regulate a plant s water content. Parts You Can Easily See: Blades, Petioles, and Veins What do you see when you look at a leaf? Most leaves have two basic parts: the blade and the petiole. The blade is usually broad and flat. The petiole is the narrow, stem-like part. It joins the blade to the stem or branch. You also might see the leaf s veins. Veins carry water and other substances throughout a plant. Parts You Can t Easily See: Stomata and Guard Cells The outer surface of a dicot leaf s blade is called the epidermis. It is a thin, Otough layer of cells that covers both surfaces of the blade. The epidermis is the leaf s skin. Its cells often secrete a waxy film, called a cuticle, which covers the upper epidermis. The cuticle protects the leaf from being injured and from losing too much water. Scattered mostly throughout the lower epidermis of dicot leaves are tiny openings called stomata (the singular is stoma). How does a stoma form? The guard cells, a pair of sausage- shaped cells that lie against each STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O 129

11 LESSON 10 L E A F S T R U C T U R E A N D T R A N S P I R AT I O N other, take in water by diffusion from their neighboring epidermal cells. As a result, the guard cells swell up and buckle and an opening develops between them. This opening is the stoma. When the guard cells lose water, they move back together. This action closes the stoma and prevents additional water loss. Stomata and guard cells help leaves handle water. A leaf gets water and a supply of minerals from the soil by way of the plant s roots and L C stem. Bundles of veins called xylem carry water and minerals up from the roots to the leaves. Vein bundles called phloem carry food from the leaves to the rest of the plant. The stomata of most plants are formed during the day and are closed at night. When the sun shines on leaves, the waxy cuticle on the upper epidermis prevents some water loss. But when stomata are formed, water vapor can escape from inside the leaf in a process called transpiration. The structure of a leaf Guard cell Stoma open Guard cell (swollen with water) Epidermal cells Stoma closed Cuticle Upper epidermis Palisade cells Spongy layer Mesophyll Vein Lower epidermis Guard cell Stoma 130 STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O

12 LESSON 10 LEAF S T RUC TURE AND T RANS P IRATION The Mesophyll: Where the Food-Making Action Is Between the upper and lower epidermis is a region called the mesophyll. In the leaves of many flowering plants and trees, the mesophyll includes an upper layer of tightly packed palisade cells and one or more lower layers of spongy tissue. In the mesophyll, a leaf makes food through a process known as photosynthesis. Mesophyll cells contain special structures called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain a green pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color. The spongy layer provides room for water and gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, to travel within the leaf. Photosynthesis begins when chlorophyll captures energy from sunlight. Using this energy, plant leaves are able to take water and combine it with the carbon dioxide that enters through the stomata to make a simple form of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the plant s food its source of energy. Oxygen is released to the atmosphere as a by-product of photosynthesis. In fact, the balance of oxygen in our atmosphere is dependent on the oxygen produced and released during photosynthesis in plants, algae, and other organisms on land and in water. A The process of photosynthesis Leaf cross section Leaf mesophyll cell Sun Chloroplast Chloroplast captures energy from sunlight. The energy is used to Leaf Split water into Oxygen Hydrogen Combine Hydrogen + Carbon dioxide To produce Glucose (simple sugar) + Water Oxygen passes through stomata into the atmosphere Carbon dioxide enters the leaf through stomata STC/MS O R G A N I S M S F R O M M A C R O T O M I C R O 131

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