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Finding Ways to Soak Up the Rays: Lodgepole Pine Adaptation to Different Environmental Conditions
This article is from Issue Rocky Mountain - Vol. 2 No. 1.
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Sunlight is the source of energy for plants, which create food through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs in the foliage, or green leaves (or needles) of a plant. The amount of food a plant can produce is partly dependent on the amount of its leaf or needle surface area. Thescientist in this study, wanted to test her hypothesis that pines growing at higher elevations adapt to these harsher environmental conditions by growing needles that live for more years than needles growing at lower elevations.
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Scientists work in a variety of settings, and are employed by different organizations. Scientists work for universities, business and industry, hospitals, and the government. Scientists work in many different settings, such as laboratories, classrooms, factories, oceans, forests, in space, or on farms. The scientist in this study works for the USDA Forest Service, a Government agency that manages many of our Nation's forests. She collected branches from pine trees in the Rocky Mountain forests of Colorado. Then, she took the branches into a laboratory, took measurements of the branches and pine needles, and used a computer to compare her results. You can see that scientists work in a lot of different settings. What setting would you like to work in?
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
Organisms must be able to live in a constantly changing environment. (Think about yourself. Don't you need to do that too?) If an organism is to survive, it will try to keep its internal environment stable, regardless of the external environment. This means that organisms will try to adapt over time to survive in changing environments. The scientist in this study wanted to know why lodgepole pines can survive at very different elevations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This shows that the pines can live in very different environments. The scientist was interested in discovering how lodgepole pines adapt to living in such different environments.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:NSE Standards covered in this article:
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