The Plant Detective’s Manual

Written by: Gonzalo M. Estavillo, Ulrike Mathesius, Michael Djordjevic & Adrienne B. Nicotra

Plant Detectives Manual: a research-led approach for teaching plant science is a 2014 free online botany textbook from The Australian National University. It provides “a collection of detailed protocols to perform plant physiology experiments.”

The idea is to design a series of related experiments to help students experience a real research project and learn experimental techniques and results interpretation. This laboratory manual provides laboratory techniques for the study of plant morphology and physiology of the model organism thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana, hereafter Arabidopsis). The set of activities used here is not, however, limited in application to this well know model system; they can be applied to any species. Arabidopsis is an annual plant that has naturalized in both Australia and the United States as well as many other areas. Some species can go through their entire life cycle in as little as six weeks – a great study subject for botany students.

The text is comprised of 12 chapters, each of which represents a particular activity. Each activity is divided into the following sections: introduction and objectives; materials list; procedure and expected outcomes. The last chapter includes directions for students on writing a scientific manuscript and includes grammar and style tips along with advice on preparing oral presentations.

Table of Contents for The Plant Detective’s Manual

Preface by Professor Ian Chubb
The inspiration for the Plant Detectives Project
About this manual
General information about the Plant Detectives Project
Activity 1: Observing the plant phenotype
Activity 2: Seed germination and root growth
Activity 3: Extraction and quantification of photosynthetic pigments
Activity 4: Qualitative analyses of photosynthetic pigments by thin-layer chromatography (TLC)
Activity 5: Qualitative analyses of photosynthetic pigments by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) — optional
Activity 6: Quantification of anthocyanins
Activity 7: Gas exchange measurements on intact leaves — photosynthetic responses to light and CO2
Activity 8: Measuring stomatal conductance to water using a porometer
Activity 9: Drought response
Activity 10: Microscopy analyses
Activity 11: Stomata and the effect of the hormone ABA
Activity 12: Write-up and symposium

View this Free Online Material at the source:
The Plant Detective’s Manual

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