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Investigation to the Effects of Red Light on the Oxygen Production of Aquatic Plants

Ansa Simson
Student Number: 213501044
Section: A8
TA: Jacob OBrien
Course Director: Paula Wilson
Date Submitted: Nov. 04, 2015

HYPOTHESIS
The red filter used in this lab will decrease the rate of photosynthesis. This is because the
wavelength of the colour red is longer and has a smaller frequency and thus, a lower energy.
(Berk et al. 2000). Photosynthesis at different wavelengths, is absorbed by different pigments in
the cell. (Berk et al. 2000). Due to the longer wavelength of red light, the aquatic plant will not
be able to absorb enough energy in order to carry out photosynthesis.
RESULTS
Overall, the results of this lab shows that the aquatic plants under the condition of white light had
a higher cumulative production of O2 compared to the aquatic plants under red light. This is
evident through the 3 graphs shown below.
The first and second graphs, (Fig. 1) and (Fig. 2), illustrates the increasing cumulative oxygen
being produced. The highest cumulative oxygen produced in the experimental conditions where
there was no filter, only white light, was 1.0 mL O2. Comparatively, the highest cumulative O2
produced in the red filter condition was 0.2 mL O2.
The average production of O2 for the first experiment (white light conditions) was around 0.6 mL
of O2 whereas the average for the filtered results were roughly 0.2 mL of O2. The averages from
the two trials from each experimental condition prove to be consistent. The data for both
experiments shows that the cumulative O2 production is greater as more time goes by.
Fig. 1 shows an extreme outlier at 1.0 mL of O2, where most of the experimental results shows
O2 production hitting its highest value at around 0.27. In all the control trials, the results shows
that there was no O2 production. However, as seen in both Fig. 1 and Fig. 2, some experiments
shows a slight increase (of about 0.01 mL O2) of oxygen production. The error bars shown on

this graph illustrates the reliability of the data. Since the CI bars of the no filter conditions were
greater, it is considered to be less reliable. Comparatively, the CI bars of the filtered results were
smaller which means that it is more reliable. However, since the error bars do not overlap, both
values of each condition are considered to be significantly different. Fig. 3 outlines the averages
of the 3 trials under each condition (white light and red light).

1.2

0.8

Cumulative O2 Produced (mL O2)

0.6

0.4

0.2

0
0h

0.03h

0.06h

0.1h

0.13h

0.16h

0.2h

0.23h

Time (Hours)
Group 1 Exp 1

Group 1 Exp 2

Group 1 Control

Group 2 Exp 1

Group 2 Exp 2

Group 2 Control

Group 3 Exp 1

Group 3 Exp 2

Group 3 Control

Group 4 Exp 1

Group 4 Exp 2

Group 4 Control

Group 5 Exp 1

Group 5 Exp 2

Group 5 Control

Group 6 Exp 1

Group 6 Exp 2

Group 6 Control

Figure 1. Rate of O2 produced of aquatic plants, recorded every 2 minutes for a total of 16
minutes under a lamp light (white). Two trials were conducted as well as a control trial.

0.26h

0.25

0.2

0.15

Cumulative O2 Produced (mL O2)


0.1

0.05

0
0h

0.03h

0.06h

0.1h

0.13h

0.16h

0.2h

0.23h

Time (Hours)
Group 1 Exp 1

Group 1 Exp 2

Group 1 Control

Group 2 Exp 1

Group 2 Exp 2

Group 2 Control

Group 3 Exp 1

Group 3 Exp 2

Group 3 Exp Control

Group 4 Exp 1

Group 4 Exp 2

Group 4 Control

Group 5 Exp 1

Group 5 Exp 2

Group 5 Control

Group 6 Exp 1

Group 6 Exp 2

Group 6 Control

Figure 2. Rate of O2 produced of an aquatic plant, recorded every 2 minutes for a total of 16
minutes under a lamp light with a red filter. Two trials were conducted as well as a control trial.

0.26h

0.07

0.06

0.05

0.04

Average Cumulative Oxygen Produced (mL O2)

0.03

0.02

0.01

Experiment

Figure 3. The average cumulative oxygen produced during photosynthesis under 2 conditions
(with a red filter and without) using aquatic plants with two trials and a control. The error bars
indicate the Confidence Intervals (CI).

DISCUSSION

Since the red light has a longer wavelength, the oxygen production is reduced since it has a lower
energy level. (Applegren et al. 1995). Moreover, the results from the filtered light trials may
have been skewed since the control trials showed that O2 production was taking place when we
know that it is not possible. This may have been the cause of an experimental design error, where
the pipette may have been tampered with, which changed the placement of the indicator. Based
on the results, there was a significant difference between the separate conditions. It can be
determined that this difference is the cause of the pigments of the aquatic plant and also the
wavelength of the light. Sunlight not only has wavelengths of which the human eye can detect,
but it also has ultraviolet rays and infrared which has short wavelengths that are full of energy
(not detectable by the human ete). (Rabinowitch 1945). However, a red light does not provide
enough energy for the chlorophyll to absorb and so the rate of oxygen produced would be lower
than that of a white light since it has a smaller wavelength compared to the red light. (Berk et al.
2000).

REFERENCE

Applegren, M, Krekling T, Saebo A. 1995. Light quality affects photosynthesis on leaf anatomy
of birch planlets in vitro. Norway: Soerheim Research Center.
Berk A, Lodish H, Zipursky SL, et al., 2000. Moluecular Cell Biology, 4th edition. New York: W.
H. Freeman.
Rabinowitch, E. 1945. Photosynthesis and Related Processes, Vol I. New York: Interscience.