First of all thanks to all of you who visited us during the fesival. It was great to share what we do at LEC, and how important sunlight & photosynthesis are for all life on Earth.
Plant growth depends on light imput. Photosynthesis allows plants to use sunlight energy to transform carbon dioxide and water into sugars, releasing oxygen as a waste product. To show how much plants need light to grow we had with us tomato and cowpea plants that have been grown in shade or under optimal light conditions. Can you see the differences in the image?
As part of our hands-on activities visitors measured photosynthesis and chlorophylls on plants grown in different conditions using a photosynQ. This portable equipment allows to measure plant photosynthetic efficiency so we can compare different plant varieties or growth conditions and select the best to improve crop production.
We regularly see plants in a big variety of greens, due to the presence of chlorophyll, the most important photosynthetic pigment. But plants have other pigments and colours that become visible in decidous plants during Autumn as you can see in the image below.
Doing a simple extraction and separation in filter paper visitors could see the different pigments present in the leaves.
To do photosynthesis plants need to exchange gases (carbon dioxide, water vapour, and oxygen) with the atmosphere. Using a microscope visitors were able to see the stomata, the tiny pores in the surface of the leaves that plants use to do this exchange. Stomata is the greek for mouth and you can see in the image why scientist that saw them for the first time give them this name.
We hope that you liked it and had fun with our activities.
Days are getting shorter, but don’t worry! Light Up Lancaster festival is happening in less than two weeks to fill Lancaster with warm light and joy after sunset. There’ll be art installations, music, performances, and activities for everyone. You can find the full program here.
Art and installations take place on Friday 4th of November, from 5pm to 10pm, and Saturday 5th of November, from 5pm to 7:30pm (or 7pm in the Castle zone venue). The festival wraps up Saturday at 8pm with a spectacular finale: The Fireworks from the Lancaster Castle. If you can see the castle, you can see the fireworks!
Come and join us at the installation Photosynthesis – Turning Light Into Life !! We’ll be at the lovely The Herbarium (click here for more information).
See you there!
Team is assembling to run activities around photosynthesis and plants at Light Up Lancaster (click here for more information). The festival takes place the first weekend of November, transforming Lancaster city centre into a family-friendly magic trail of discovery, with activities, performances, music, light projections and ending with the fireworks.
During the two days of the festival we will be showing how photosynthesis, using light energy from the Sun, has transformed the planet, is essential for life on Earth, and how we work to understand and make it better to face climate change and a growing population.
More information soon!
Plant and Crop Science scientist at Lancaster University are preparing online activities sharing our enthusiasm about plants and our research work. All content will be available here online from 18th May 2022 and for people to enjoy in their own time.
To celebrate Fascination of Plants Day we at LEC are running a special seminar where two of our researchers, Dr Samuel Taylor and Catherine Walsh, will share their love for plants. The seminar “My fascination with plants” will be held live and you all are very welcome to join us! It is an open public online question and answer session. Submit questions in advance on social media using #LECSeminarFoPD. More information and how to join the seminar is available here.
Fascination of Plants is a worldwide event to celebrate and increase visibility of plants. You can find more activities and information about Fascination of Plants Day here.