Photo by V. Miller
June 23, 2004
Stomata Counts and Pollution
Stomata Count Differences of Selected Coniferous Trees
Spencer Larson, 12, Springville, Utah
Finalist, Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge, 2003
Project background: Spencer's inspiration for his project came from articles he read in National Geographic as well as his established interest in trees. This led him to wonder if stomata counts differ within a geographical region as a direct effect of pollution. Stomata are tiny openings or pores in the surface of plant leaves. They allow gases and water vapor to pass into and out of a plant.
Tactics and results: Spencer collected Douglas fir and pinyon pine tree samples from Hobble Creek Canyon and a park in Provo, Utah. He calculated pollution levels by monitoring the number of cars that passed each site over the course of four 1-hour periods.
After determining the number of stomata on each of the samples, Spencer discovered that pollution does in fact affect the stomata count and may be used as a marker to indicate variations in pollution levels.
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