Plant Physiology Lab



Robert Paull

Semesters taught:

Spring 2016


This laboratory course is designed to expose students to the practical skills required in plant physiology. Techniques and instruments used to study plant metabolic processes, including water relations, respiration, photosynthesis, enzyme kinetics, microscopy, immunochemistry, and nitrogen fixation will be used. Quantitative methods, problem solving, and practical applications are emphasized. These goals will be achieved though both individual and group activities.

The goals of this course aim to assist students to:

  1. Understand basic principles and concepts of plant physiology;
  2. enable students to develop a research framework ;
  3. develop skills in the application of the scientific method;
  4. engage in exercises that require active participation; and
  5. be able to communicate their results and work as a group to solve problems.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Understanding that plant physiology is an experimental science. Provide students with knowledge of the techniques and instruments used to study plant physiology, and develop an understanding of how research in plant physiology is carried out. Quantitative methods, problem solving, and practical applications are emphasized.


(1 3-hr Lab) Principles of experimentation in plant physiology, includes individual investigations. A-F only. Pre: consent. DY

Computer skills to be acquired:






Films and videos:


Course organization:

The laboratory exercises covered normally in the laboratory are as follows:

  • Lab 1 - Plant growth analysis; Introduction to “Fast Plants”
  • Lab 2 - Water status of plants (osmolarity, stomata, transpiration); Introduce research projects
  • Lab 3 - Water status (pressure bomb);
  • Lab 4 - Respiration (CO2 determination)
  • Lab 5 - Photosynthesis (Chlorophyll, Oxygen, CO2)
  • Lab 6 - Mineral nutrition (extraction, preparation, analysis)
  • Lab 7 - Enzymes (GA and starch breakdown, spectrophotometer)
  • Lab 8 - Cell walls (extraction and analysis, growth)
  • Lab 9 - Research projects proposal presentation
  • Lab 10 - Research projects
  • Lab 11 - Research projects
  • Lab 12 - Research projects
  • Lab 13 - Research projects; Data analysis
  • Lab 14 - Research projects; Data analysis
  • Lab 15 - Research symposium presentation
  • Lab 16 - Research reports due; Lab clean up


This laboratory course will include worksheets for most laboratory exercises, as well as one 5-page paper. Attendance and a laboratory notebook will be a significant component of the grade, as will the independent research project.


  Grade %

Attendance 100 20
Worksheets   75 15
Five Page Paper   25   5
Laboratory Notebook 100 20
Proposal Write-Up   25  5
Proposal Presentation  25  5
Final Presentation  50 10
Final Report 100 20
TOTAL 500  



Recommend concurrent registration in TPSS 470.

2013 October 09