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Leaf_Paper - Solar Radiations Effect on Leaf Growth of Bur...

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Solar Radiation’s Effect on Leaf Growth of Bur Oak and Silver Maple trees By: Carolyn Gerdeman Ecology Tom Rosenburg Abstract: The Silver Maple and Bur Oak are originated in different environments but are both current residents of the Lakeside Lab’s vegetation community. All data was collected on the campus of Lakeside Lab, which has a climate beneficial to both the Silver Maple and Bur Oak trees. In the conducted experiment, leaves were collected from 3 different trees of each species. After obtaining the leaves, measurements were taken in order to later calculate the blade area index, the dissection index, and the thickness index. Once all indexes were found for each tree species, t-tables were constructed to obtain the p-value. Sun and shade leaves average differences for the Silver Maple and Bur Oak trees were plotted on a graph containing the p- values, making the differences and similarities between sun and shade leaves more obvious. If this study were to be done differently, more leaves from more trees in different areas would have been collected so that the data would have more samples and furthermore be more accurate. Introduction:
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Planet Earth receives vast amounts of solar radiation per year, but what affect does sunlight have on the formation and growth of tree leaves? Different trees have different physiological processes. For instance Dickson states that the genus Quercus , which contains evergreen and deciduous species, is capable of living in environments with wide availability of moisture (1996). Meaning organisms such as the Bur Oak are qualified to live in environments from low precipitation levels to relatively high precipitation levels. In order to survive such large ranged conditions such as drought and flooding, species from the genus Quercus must possess physiological forms of adaptation. According to Abrams, at low leaf water potentials, oaks generally maintain a higher photosynthetic rate. Also, oaks possess thick leaves with essentially small stomata, which allows for higher efficiency of water (1990). Thus oaks are highly adapted in carbon fixation and converting light energy into chemical energy, and because of their small stomata, have a higher water-stress tolerance and adept to retain more water. However not all plants have these adaptations. For example, Koda states the Acer Saccharinum is a wetland species usually found in moist and fertile habitats such as swamps, riverbanks and lake edges, who’s canopy spread depends on available space (YEAR). Therefore, if there is a large amount of space for growth, the Silver Maple will have a short trunk with several large branches and an open canopy. However, if space is restricted, the tree will have a taller, thinner trunk with a more narrow canopy. Also, according to Thomas Silver Maple leaves only need 20% of sunlight to conduct photosynthesis at their maximum rate. Thus, Maple leaves at the top of the canopy must be much thinner so sunlight may pass through to the bottom of the
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