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I.A.

#3: THE EFFECT OF VARYING LIGHT INTENSITY ON THE RATE OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS

(ELODEA LAB)

To be marked for ORR and AI.


To be done on Sept. 19 and collected on Sept. 21 (hand-written).
You are advised to make a start on the write up from now!

References:

http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-biology/investigating-factors-affecting-rate-photosynthesis

(outline of lab)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg8vqsBOFMw

(2 minute video showing set up)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeF9kKsVgTo

(1 minute video showing virtual lab)

https://www.reading.ac.uk/virtualexperiments/ves/preloader-photosynthesis-full.html

ACTUAL VIRTUAL LAB so you can try it out first!

In this experiment, you will be investigating the effect of varying light intensity on the rate of
photosynthesis in the Elodea (pondweed).

Possible set ups are shown below.

Our set up will be a blend of the two!


You will be provided with a sprig of Elodea. The rate of photosynthesis is measured by counting the
number of bubbles rising from the cut end of a piece of Elodea.

Light intensity is proportional to 1/distance2. So, you will be conducting the experiment at a varying
distances between lamp and Elodea.

You will also be given a large glass beaker (to act as a heat shield once filled with tap water), a metre
ruler, a razor, thermometer, forceps, an electric lamp, sodium bicarbonate powder, a spatula, and a
boiling tube. You need to have a timer.

Ideally, the lab will be somewhat darkened (reducing ambient light). The apparatus will be set up
submerging the Elodea sprig in the boiling tube filled with water, adding a pinch of sodium bicarbonate
(thus ensuring carbon dioxide has been provided, and is not a limiting factor). The boiling tube will then
be placed in the water bath, and set at a 5 cm distance from the lamp. This should be left for 2 minutes
(allowing it to acclimatise) ensuring that bubbles are steadily emerging from the cut end of the Elodea. A
total count of the number of bubbles emerging produced in 1 minute should be taken for 3 consecutive
1-minute intervals. These values should be recorded in a properly constructed table and the mean
bubbles/minute calculated (stated as a whole number). The same procedure should be followed for 4
other distances 10, 20, 40 and 80 cm (ensuring that the acclimatisation time of 2 minutes is observed
before counting and other variables are kept constant) and observations recorded.

Data should be plotted on a line graph to show light intensity or distance from the lamp against the
mean number of bubbles produced/minute (representing the rate of photosynthesis).

Note that you are assuming that the bubbles being counted are pure oxygen and that this production is
proportional to the rate of photosynthesis. This is not strictly true...think about why. Nor are all bubbles
identical in size. There are more accurate ways of doing this that might be considered in the
improvements section.

Your report should include (as usual!):

Title

Aim

Materials/Apparatus

Method (with labelled diagram, but do not just say set up as shown in diagram!) numbered, past
tense

Results: to include -

Table (having entries for distance, light intensity*, bubble count for the 3 1-min intervals, mean number
of bubbles produced per minute) think about how to organise it. Remember the title.

*light intensity should be recorded in arbitrary units, using 10000/d 2 with d measured in cm (this simply
produces numbers that can be easily plotted, rather than fractions).
Two line graphs should be plotted on separate pieces of graph paper (use a curve to join plot points if
appropriate), one using distance and the other, light intensity (on the horizontal axis), against mean
number of bubbles produced/minute (rate of photosynthesis). Remember titles, appropriate scales, etc.

In your discussion you should first give some background brief statements defining photosynthesis, its
stages, and the factors that may impact its rate (including reference to limiting factors). How the rate is
measured and the variable (light intensity) manipulated in this experiment should be stated clearly (so
think about why bubbles emerge and what they reflect; and the relationship between distance and light
intensity).

Then go into the results obtained state what you found, citing figures. Note the trend observed. Refer
to the graphs plotted.

Explain your findings with reference to limiting factors (look carefully at your gradient and what that
might represent).

Cite precautions taken, limitations encountered and improvements possible (each in separate
paragraphs).

Finally, give your conclusion logical, concise, tied to aim.