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SBI 3013










1) Observe how transpiration relates to the overall process of water transport in plants.
2) Determine the effect of humidity on the rate of transpiration of a plant cutting.
3) Use a computer interface and a Gas Pressure Sensor to measure the rate of
Data logging is the measuring and recording of physical or electrical parameters over
a period of time. Data loggers are used in a variety of applications such as in-vehicle data
logging, structural health monitoring, environmental monitoring, and machine condition
monitoring. Common measurements include temperature, strain, voltage, current, pressure,
force, and acceleration. However, for our experiment, we have choose the Vernier Gas
Pressure Sensor and Vernier computer interface to study about effects of humidity on rate of
transpiration of plant cutting.
Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to
small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapour and is released to the
atmosphere. Transpiration is essential process of water evaporation from the leaves and stems
of plants after the plants absorb the water from the soil. Transpirations helps to create a lower
osmotic potential in the leaves. The resulting transpirational pull is responsible for the
movement of water from the xylem to the mesophyll cells into the air spaces in the leaves.
The rate of evaporation of water from the air spaces of the leaves to the outside air depends
on the water potential gradient between the leaves and the outside air. More than 90% of the
water taken in by plant roots is ultimately lost to the atmosphere. Studies have revealed that
about 10% of the moisture found in the atmosphere is released by plants through
This various environmental factors, including those conditions which directly
influence the opening and closing of the stomata, will affect a plants transpiration rate. This
experiment will measure transpiration rates under different conditions of humidity. The data
will be collected by measuring pressure changes as the plant takes up water from root to the
When the humidity increase, the rate of transpiration also increase.

1. Manipulated : Humidity.
2. Responding : The rate of transpiration.
3. Constant : The temperature.
Computer, metric ruler, Vernier computer interface, masking tape, Logger Pro, 100 Watt light
source, Vernier Gas Pressure Sensor, plastic gallon size bag with twist tie, utility clamps
heater, small electric, right stand fan with slow speed, plant cuttings, aerosol spray container
or plant mister, plastic tubing clamps, plastic syringe, dropper or Beral pipette, ProScope
(optional), razor blade or scalpel.
1. The ring stand, utility clamps and Gas Pressure Sensor is placed as shown in Figure 1.

2. The plastic tube is prepared.
a. The plastic syringe is connected to one end of a 36-42 cm piece of plastic
b. The other end of the tubing is placed into the water and the syringe is used to
draw water up into the tubing until it is full. The tubing is tapped to expel any
air bubbles that form inside the tube.
c. A plastic tubing clamp is slipped onto the tubing.
d. The tubing is bent into a U-shaped with both ends up. The syringe is removed,
leaving the tubing full of water.
3. A plant that has a stem roughly the same diameter as the opening of the plastic tubing
is selected. The plant is carefully cut about one inch above the soil by using a scalpel

or razor blade. The plant is placed under water against the hard surface and a new cut
is made at a 45 angle near the base of the stem.
4. The plant is connected to the tubing.
a. A white plastic connector at one end of the plastic tubing is connected to the
valve on the Gas Pressure Sensor. The end of the tubing with the connector is
raised until the water beginning to drip out of the other end.
b. The cut stem of the plant is carefully pushed into the end of the tubing where
the water is dripping out. Be careful not allow any air bubbles to form between
the cut portion of the stem and the water in the tube.
c. The plant is pushed down as far as it will go without damaging the plant. At
least one centimeter of the plant stem should fit into the tubing. If the stem is
too large for the tubing, cut the stem at a higher point where it is smaller.
d. The tubing clamp is squeezed to shut it as tight as possible.
5. The plant cutting is inverted when the tubing is shut tightly to check for any leaks.
6. The plastic tubing is connected to the sensor valve.
7. The plant is secure in an upright position with the utility clamps as shown in Figure 1.
The cut stem should be about 8 cm below the water level at the other end of the
8. A mark is placed at the starting water level to allow to refill the tube to the proper
level when the data collection is repeated.
9. The plant setup is placed in the area where the temperature is constant.
10. The system is allowed to adjust to the environment within 5 minutes. The computer is
set up while the system is adjusted.
11. The Gas Pressure Sensor is connected to the computer interface. The computer is
prepared for data collection.
12. The base of the plant stem in the water tube is checked to make sure that no air
bubbles or air pockets have formed that will prevent the plant from taking up water.
The plant in the tubing is refitted when there is an air pocket formed before data
collection is initiated.
13. Data collection is initiated after the plant has equilibrated in 5 minutes.
14. The rate of transpiration of plant is collected when the data collection is finished.


A data logger is an electronic device that records data over time or in relation to location
either with a build in instrument or sensor or via external instruments and sensors. The data
logger, but not entirely they are based on a digital processor. They generally are small, battery
powered, portable, and equipped with a microprocessor, internal memory for data storage and
sensors. Some data loggers interface with a personal computer and utilize software to activate
the data logger and view then analyzed the collected data, while other have a local interface
device and can be used as a stand-alone device.
Computer data logging is the process of recording events, with an automated computer
program. This process provides an audit trait that can be used to understand the activity of the
system and to diagnose problem. Due to the features of practical activity for science is always
by observation and measurement, with the help of this process it can expose the students to a
variety instruments that can observe and measure. The results of observation and
measurement are presented in graph and table form after being processed. But now, with the
modem computer technology can now assist this process of handling data. Computer data
logging composed of several main parts such as sensor, interface box and computer with
appropriate software.
Sensor is a device that responds to some physical property of the environment by detecting
the physical variation and converted into voltage signal and being recognized by the interface
box. The physical properties of the environment including the temperature, pressure, light
intensity, sound, position, magnetic flux, voltage, current and others. The interface box is
functioned to convert the voltage signal of the sensor to a digital sensor, which is can be read

by the computer. The interface box very useful for data logging over extended periods and
contain own memory for data storing. Computer with appropriate software is required so that
the computer can interpret and process the signal from the interface box. Other than that it
manages to store, display and analysis data.
The amount of water that plants transpire varies greatly geographically and over time.
There are a number of factors that determine transpiration rates including temperature,
relative humidity, wind and air movement, soil-moisture availability and type of plants. As
the relative humidity of the surrounding plants rises, the transpiration rate falls. It is easier for
water to evaporate into dryer air than into more saturated air. Secondly, the transpiration rates
go up as the temperature goes up, especially during growing season, when the air is warmer
due to stronger sunlight and warmer air masses. Higher temperature cause the plant cells
which control the openings (stomata) where water is released to the atmosphere to open ,
whereas colder temperature cause the openings to close. Thirdly, increased air movement
around a plant will result in higher transpiration rate. This is somewhat related to the relative
humidity of the air, in that as water transpires from a leaf, the water saturates the air
surrounding the leaf. If there is no wind, the air around the leaf may not move very much,
raising the humidity of the air around the leaf. Wind will move the air around, with the result
that are the more saturated air close to the leaf is replaced by drier air.
The graph clearly shows that the humidity inside the polythene bag is increasing with
time. This increase in humidity is due to the transpiration from the plant. Relative humidity
(RH) is defined as the amount of water vapour in the air compared to the amount of water
vapour that air could hold at a given temperature. The lower the RH, the less moist the
atmosphere and thus, the greater the driving force for transpiration. When RH is high, the
atmosphere contains more moisture, reducing the driving force for transpiration.



What caused the transpiration rate increase?

What caused the transpiration rate decrease?
What happens to the water molecules in the atmosphere when the humidity is low?
What happens to the water molecules in the atmosphere when the humidity is high?

The rate of transpiration of plants can be affected by any environmental factors. Did
any of the environmental factors increase the transpiration rate more than others?
Wind increased the rate of transpiration more than other environmental factors. This is
because the wind was the most effectively factor that cause molecules of water to evaporate
or blow off of the plant causing transpiration.
1. Using a compound microscope, identify the vascular tissues of a plant stem. Describe
the function of each tissue type identified.
a. Obtain a section of stem from the plant you used during the transpiration
b. Using the microtome, carefully cut 6 cross sections of the plant stem. The
cross section should be cut as thin as possible.
c. Place each of the cross sections in a dish or cup of 50% ethanol solution for 5
d. Remove the cross sections from the alcohol and place them in a dish
containing toluidine blue O stain for 5 minutes.
e. Rinse the cross sections with distilled water and mount them on a microscope
slide with a drop of 50% glycerin. Place a cover slip on the slide and examine
the cross sections using a compound microscope.
f. On a separate sheet of paper, make a drawing of the cross sections. Identify
and label the cells and tissue types described by your teacher.

2. Test cuttings from a variety of different plant species. How does each compare?
3. Count the number of stoma/cm2 for each of the plants in Extension 1. How does this relate
to the plants ability to transpire water?

4. Design an experiment to test for the variables in Question 3


What is the name of the small pores found on the underside of leaves?
What percentage of evaporating water is attributed to transpiration?
Plants pump up water from the soil. What purpose does this water serve?
Name some environmental stimuli that would affect the rate of transpiration. Explain

whether they would increase or decrease the rate of transpiration.

5. What is the name of the cells that control the opening and closing of the small pores
(mentioned in Question 1) in response to various environmental stimuli?

The small pores that found on the undersides of leaves are stomata.
Transpiration accounts for approximately 10% of all evaporating water.
Plants pump the water up from the soil to deliver nutrients to their leaves.
Darkness, internal water deficit, and extremes of temperature tend to close stomata
and decrease transpiration; illumination, ample water supply and optimum
temperature open stomata and increase transpiration. You could test this by
comparing the transpiration from a control leaf to that of similar sized leaves in

different environmental conditions.

5. The guard cells control the opening and closing of the stomata in response to various
environmental stimuli.

This environmental factor affects transpiration by regulating stomata movement and
atmospheric demand. At high relative humidity (moist air), the stoma tends to close and thus
limit the exit of water vapour from the plant. Further, high relative humidity means that the
water-potential gradient (also water vapour concentration and vapour pressure gradient) from
plant to the atmosphere will be minimal compared to when relative humidity is low. In

addition, at high relative humidity the atmosphere contains more water and has low
atmospheric demand, meaning that it has limited capacity to absorb more water.
So, as the simpler word, we can state that humidity is the concentration of water
vapour in the air. At low humidity there is a lower concentration of water molecules in the air
around the leaves. This concentration gradient helps the transport of water molecules from
the leaves by diffusion. High humidity means the air around the leaves is already saturated
and has a higher concentration of water molecules than inside the leaves.

1. Pico Technology. (n.d.). Transpiration. Retrieved from
2.Vernier Software & Technology. (n.d.). Transpiration. Retrieved from
3. Biology: A Local Ecosystem Evaporation of Water from terrestrial plants - Transpiration.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.logint.com.au/Transpiration.pdf