Plant Physiology related processes explained with the help of GIFs

Plant physiology gives an insight about the internal chemical and physical workings of the plant. It allows the scientists to study the molecular interactions of photosynthesis and internal diffusion of water as well as the sheds light on the processes of plant development, seasonality and reproductive control. A number of plant physiology related processes are enlisted below with their animations.

1) Photosynthesis and Transpiration

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Image Courtesy: phschool.com

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Photosynthesis is a process whereby light energy is converted into chemical energy. This chemical energy is stored in the form of carbohydrates for usage at a later stage. Although photosynthesis is performed differently by different species, the process always begins when energy from light is absorbed by proteins called reaction centers that contain green chlorophyll pigments. In plants, these proteins are held inside organelles called chloroplasts, which are most abundant in leaf cells. Transpiration on the other hand regulates the movement of water through the plant and its evaporation from the aerial parts which include leaves as well as stems. The first animation shows the product of the process of photosynthesis. The second animation explains the movement of water through the stoma. Each stoma allows the carbon dioxide necessary for photosynthesis to enter, while water evaporates through each one in transpiration.

2) Plant Nutrition

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Nutrients are imperative for plant growth as well as for carrying out the internal metabolism and external supply processes. Most of the nutrients that a plant needs are dissolved in water and then taken up by the plant through its roots. Fertilizers usually help to keep the soil supplied with nutrients a plant needs. Nitrogen, phosphorous and Potassium are the major nutrients that a plant requires. Nitrogen is used for above ground growth. This is what gives plants a dark green color. Phosphorous helps plant cell division. It aids in flower and seed production and in the development of a strong root system. Potassium helps fight off disease and provides for strong stems. The animation also shows the effect each nutrient on a plant part.

3) Tropism

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Tropism is a biological phenomenon, indicating growth or turning movement of a biological organism, usually a plant, in response to an environmental stimulus.  The animations show the growth of the plant in the direction of light and water. This directional growth is considered to be due to asymmetrical distribution of auxin, a plant growth hormone.

4) Nastic Movements

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The non-directional response to stimuli (such as humidity, temperature etc.) results in this kind of movement and these movements are mostly associated with plants. Basically it is a plants response to touch. The reason for nastic movement can either be due to turgor or growth in which case k+ ion concentration plays an important role since it controls such movement.  Nastic movements differ from tropic movements in that the direction of tropic responses depends on the direction of the stimulus, whereas the direction of nastic movements is independent of the stimulus's position. The second animations illustrate the nastic movement shown by Mimosa pudica which is also commonly known as touch-me-not.

5) Circadian Rhythm

Image Courtesy: giphy.com

Image Courtesy: giphy.com

A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria. Circadian rhythms are endogenously generated, although they can be modulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature. Plant circadian rhythms tell the plant what season it is and when to flower for the best chance of attracting pollinators.

6) Seed Germination

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Seed germination refers to the phenomenon of the growth of an embryonic plant contained within a seed and which later results in the form of a seedling.  The most common example of germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm. In a more general sense, germination can be simply anything expanding into greater being from a small existence or germ, a method that is commonly used by many seed germination projects.

21110   11/08/2014

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