Students Study Effects of Photosynthesis in Biology Lab



January 23, 2015 | Academics, Research, Technology

Students with test tubeStudents in Instructor Derek Tesser’s Fall II Introduction Biology: Life in New York City course performed a fundamental photosynthesis experiment using an innovative approach during their January 22 lab session. They studied whether photosynthesis (the process by which organisms convert light from the sun into glucose sugar molecules for energy) was occurring by measuring the level of oxygen given off as a waste product by the Elodea aquatic plant when submerged in water and treated with a strong light source.

An oxygen sensor connected to a Datalogger was placed in a test tube with water, the Elodea, and bicarbonate. As the photosynthesis reaction occurred, the data fed into a computer. Students then conducted data analysis using a program to determine the minimum and maximum dissolved oxygen concentrations released into the water over the course of the experiment. This approach allowed them to understand more clearly the relationship among photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and energy flows through living systems. Students doing data analysis