The Survival Rate of Four Terrestrial Plants in an Aquatic Environment

An Investigatory Project

Presented to Mrs. Marlyn C. Baluyut

As a Final Requirement in Biology

By: Patrick Jacob Liwag Alexandria Sibal Keana Marie Mandigal Jasmine Rhei Chancoco

Title: The Survival Rate of Four Terrestrial Plants in an Aquatic Environment Objective: Determine which among the 4 different species of terrestrial plants will survive best in an aquatic environment.

Background Information: The Kingdom Plantae differs from other kingdoms in many ways. They are multicellular organisms made up of eukaryotic cells. They are autotrophic or create their own food. They have parts, like chloroplast, that allow them to create food.

These plants live in different habitats. Most plants live in either an aquatic or terrestrial environment. However, biologists say that most terrestrial plants evolved from earlier aquatic plants. These terrestrial plants (embryophytes) have the same characteristics that aquatic plants possessed though only improved to adapt to the environment of land. Some of these characteristics are thicker cuticle and controlled stomata for control of water loss and supportive structure to fight against gravity.

Aquatic plants (hydrophytes) also have structures adapted in an aquatic life. These includes thin cuticle that rarely prevents water loss, constantly opened stomata with inactive guard cells, a less rigid structure because it is supported by water pressure and specialized roots that are able to take in oxygen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_plants).

The factor that led us to choose this topic is that we have learned that land plants originated from aquatic plants. We want to know what will happen if we placed the land plants back to the aquatic environment after adapting to a terrestrial habitat.

By doing this Investigatory Project, we may know which land plant has closely descended from aquatic plants.

Statement of the Problem/ Objectives: General Objective: To determine which among the 4 different species of terrestrial plants will survive best in an aquatic environment. Specific Objectives: To expose 4 species of terrestrial plants in an aquatic environment suitable for plant growth. To observe the survival rate of the 4 plants after living in the aquatic environment. To identify which plant parts allowed the plants to survive in water. To construct a phylogenetic tree on terrestrial plant ancestry based on our experiment, collected data and other information. Hypothesis: If we expose terrestrial plants in water, then they will all survive.

Methodology: Variables: Independent-

Plant species/ Type of plant Cactus Orchid Fern Bougainvillea DependentPhysical state of each plant Materials: One cactus One fern One orchid One bougainvillea 4 small basins or 1 big basin 4.2 liters of water 4, 200 grams of soil Procedure: We placed the 4 plants in basins with 200 grams of soil and 200 liters of water. We observed the plants for 5 days. With every observation, we recorded their growth or change if they are healthy, wilting or dying. After the 5-day observation, we formed a table of observation and formed a conclusion based on our data and the physical state of each plant. We then constructed a phylogenetic tree based on the survival of each plant and our own researched information.

Observation and Interpretation Day 1 2 Cactus
Green stem Green stem

Fern
Green leaves Green leaves

Bougainvillea
Crisp leaves Some upper leaves began to wilt

Orchid
Green leaves Green leaves

3 4

Green stem Green stem

Some leaves began to dry Most leaves began to lose crispiness

Most upper leaves wilted Most upper leaves wilted and some leaves began to fall off

Green leaves Green leaves

5

Green stem

Most leaves lost Most upper leaves crispiness wilted and most lower leaves fell off

Green leaves

According to the findings of the researchers we can infer that our hypothesis is partially correct. Based on the table above, 2 out of 4 plants (cactus and orchid) showed signs of good condition while the other two (fern and bougainvillea) showed signs of wilting. Our experiment may have turned out this way because of two factors, the structures of each plant and its habitat. However we believe that the latter is more likely because the habitat is applied to every plant. The following are the plant structures we think affected our experiment: Controlled stomata Thicker cuticle The stomata of terrestrial plants are controlled to prevent excessive water loss during gas exchange. However when in an aquatic environment, these stomata are faced with an extreme volume water which caused it to intake large amounts of water. This caused a reaction (wilting) because the surrounding water is mixed with soil particles, mineral molecules, and some salt found in the soil we used. This effectively makes the water a hypertonic solution. The effects of hyper tonicity on plants is wilting because the water inside the cells move out through osmosis (from lesser to greater concentration) However, the cactus and orchid was not affected because they have thicker cuticles surrounding their stems and leaves. The thicker cuticle induced greater control over water loss which explains why they were not affected by the hyper tonicity of the water and therefore did not wilt. One mistake we did is to completely submerge the plants. Submerging them may have had another effect on their physical condition. Phylogenetic tree of cactus, orchid, fern and bougainvillea:

Conclusion We, the researchers, have found out that some terrestrial plants have completely adapted to a terrestrial environment based on our experiment. However, some terrestrial plants, like cactus, have structures which can allow them to survive in an aquatic environment.

Recommendations We have the following recommendations for a improved and subtler set-up of our experiment: Submerge the plants completely. Use water with dissolved particles (salt, sugar) to observe the effects of solutes on plant growth. Do the opposite of our experiment, expose aquatic plants to terrestrial life and observe the effects.

Documentation

ABSTRACT We chose the topic, The Survival Rate of Four Terrestrial Plants in an Aquatic Environment, with the purpose of determining if terrestrial plants still have the capability to survive in the habitat they once knew, water. We started our set-up by exposing these plants in an aquatic environment and observing any changes to its physical condition or makeup. Our experiment resulted with two out of four plants wilting and the other two having signs of good physical condition. We, the researchers, concluded that plants in the Family Cactaceae and Family Orchidaceae still have some capacity to survive an aquatic environment.

2L water and 1 medium-sized basin

200g of soil and 1 medium-sized basin

Bougainvillea

Fern

Orchid

Cactus

Day 2

Day 1

Day 5

Day 4

Day 3

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