Plant Lab Review

This review applies to Plants I, II, III.

The objectives of the Bio 6A plant labs overlap, and on the lab exam I will ask you to compare and contrast specimens that you looked at on different days. The things you see in Plants III may help clarify the significance ot the things you saw in Plants I. For that reason, I'm giving you a single page of review questions covering all the plant labs. I am dividing the review into section for the separate labs, but you should keep in mind that they will overlap.

About the lab exam

It will be hard. Many students struggle to get passing scores. On the other hand, I am telling you more or less exactly what will be on the exam, so if you pay attention in lab and read these pages carefully, you can get a very high score (for reference, the scores on last year's first Lab Exam ranged from 32% to 100%.)

I usually base the lab exam on stations. A station is a place where you can sit (or stand) and look at a specimen. While you're at that station, you can answer some questions about the specimen. I won't ask you questions like "What is this?" and the answer will be "pine cone." Instead, I might show you a pine cone and ask if the plant that produced it was a vascular plant or if it contains triploid endosperm. Or maybe, "does this plant require water to carry its sperm for fertilization?" To do well, you'll need to be familiar with the specimens in lab, the concepts presented, and the connections between them.

Lab exam 1 will cover the plant labs and the fungus lab. It won't cover material from lecture, such as transport in plants, and it won't cover the lecture-related lab activities (systematics and gas exchange), although you should know how to use cladograms.

The specimens

The specimens you see on the lab exam will be the same ones you saw in lab, or will be similar to those. For lists of specimens, see the individual pages of the plant labs.

I'm not going to ask you the names of individual specimens, like Helianthus vs. Ranunculus. I will use specimen as an example to ask questions about structure and other concepts.

Plants I: The Evolution of Land Plants

Vocabulary review

You should be familiar with these terms; be able to recognize the structures and say which groups have them.

  • alternation of generations
  • angiosperm
  • chlorophyta
  • chloroplast
  • cuticle
  • diploid
  • embryo
  • gamete
  • gametophyte
  • green algae
  • gymnosperm
  • haploid
  • lignified vascular tissue
  • meiosis
  • meristem
  • mitosis
  • pollen
  • seed
  • spore
  • sporophyte
  • syngamy
  • viridiplantae
  • zygote

Review questions

Some of these questions, and other similar questions, will be on the lab exam. You don’t need to turn in answers to these questions now. However, if you can give good answers to all of them, you will do very well on the lab exam.

  1. How is the overall structure of a moss different from that of aquatic algae? How is this morphological difference related to living on land vs. living in the water?
  2. How is the overall structure of a moss different from that of vascular plants? How is this morphological difference related to the plants' sizes and environments?
  3. How is a moss “leaf” (not considered a true leaf) similar to a flowering plant’s leaf? How is it different? (You'll need to refer to Plants II for this.) What about the stem?
  4. How is a moss rhizoid similar to a flowering plant’s root? How is it different?
  5. How does water get from the ground to the upper part of a moss?
  6. When you’re looking at a moss, what’s haploid? What’s diploid?
  7. Which life cycle stage is bigger and longer-lived in mosses – sporophyte or gametophyte? Is this stage haploid or diploid?
  8. Is water necessary for fertilization in mosses? Why or why not?
  9. Is water necessary for fertilization in ferns? Why or why not?
  10. Is water necessary for fertilization in gymnosperms? Why or why not?
  11. Is water necessary for fertilization in angiosperms? Why or why not?
  12. Which life cycle stage is bigger and longer-lived in ferns – sporophyte or gametophyte? Is this stage haploid or diploid?
  13. Which life cycle stage is bigger and longer-lived in gymnosperms – sporophyte or gametophyte? Is this stage haploid or diploid?
  14. Which life cycle stage is bigger and longer-lived in angiosperms – sporophyte or gametophyte? Is this stage haploid or diploid?
  15. What is the function of flowers?
  16. What is the function of pollen?
  17. How would you draw the life cycle diagram for a single-celled protist like Amoeba proteus? Does this organism show alternation of generations?
  18. How are the life cycles of mosses and ferns similar? How are they different?
  19. How are fern spores similar to angiosperm seeds? How are they different?
  20. How are fern spores similar to angiosperm pollen? How are they different?
  21. Which of the following are clades? Plants, vascular plants, nonvascular plants, vascular seed plants, vascular non-seed plants.
  22. Draw a cladogram showing flowering plants, gymnosperms, ferns, mosses, and green algae. Indicate where on the cladogram you would find the following characteristics:
  • alternation of generations
  • apical meristem
  • chloroplasts
  • dependent embryo
  • flowers
  • lignified vascular tissue
  • multicellular
  • pollen
  • seeds
  • sexual reproduction
  • spore

Plants II: Vascular Plant Structure and Growth

Important figures from Campbell

For this section of lab, you should be trying to connect the specimens with specific diagrams from Campbell, primarily in Chapter 35 (Plant Structure, Growth, and Development). I will list the titles of the figures, but not the figure numbers, because the numbers sometimes vary from one edition to another. It will be useful for you to go through the entire chapter but look closely at these:

  • The three tissue systems
  • An overview of primary and secondary growth
  • Three years' growth in a winter twig
  • Primary growth of a root.
  • Organization of primary tissues in young roots
  • The shoot tip
  • Organization of primary tissues in young stems
  • Cutaway drawing of leaf tissues
  • Primary and secondary growth of a woody stem
  • Secondary growth produced by the vascular cambium
  • Anatomy of a tree trunk

Each of these diagrams shows a concept that is represented in one or more of our lab specimens, and these concepts will be on the lab exam.

Vocabulary review

Don't simply focus on the definitions of these terms. On the lab exam, I will ask you to recognize these things in specimens, to say which groups of plants have them, and explain what they do.

  • Apical meristem
  • Cork cambium
  • Cuticle
  • Dermal tissue
  • Endodermis
  • Epidermis
  • Fibrous roots
  • Ground tissue
  • Guard cell
  • Heartwood
  • Lateral meristem
  • Leaf
  • Mesophyll
  • Phloem
  • Primary or secondary phloem
  • Primary or secondary xylem
  • Root
  • Sapwood
  • Stem
  • Stoma
  • Tap roots
  • Vascular cambium
  • Vascular tissue
  • Xylem

For example, what microscope slides or larger specimens could I show you as example of an apical meristem? For each of the terms listed above, try to think of good examples that you've seen in lab.

I won't ask you to recognize specific plant species (Ligustrum or Dianthus?). Instead, I will use a variety of specimens as examples of the concepts on this page.

Other important concepts

  • Primary and secondary growth. I might show you a part of a plant and ask, "was this part produced by primary or secondary growth?"
  • Cell proliferation. How does mitosis relate to cell proliferation?
  • Differentiation
  • Determinate vs. indeterminate growth
  • Haploid vs. diploid. You can't tell by looking at the cells, but you should recognize which plant structures are haploid and which are diploid.
  • Meristematic growth
  • Vascular plants vs. nonvascular

Concept questions

  1. Identify dermal, ground, and vascular tissues in leaves, stems, and roots. What is the function of each of these tissue systems in each type of organ?
  2. Can you find primary and secondary growth in leaves, stems, and roots?
  3. Where would you find meristematic tissue in a typical stem?
  4. What kind of tissues are generated by apical meristems?
  5. How is xylem different from phloem?
  6. Why do roots have xylem and phloem?
  7. Why do leaves have xylem and phloem?
  8. Do mosses have stomata? If so, where are they? If not, how do they survive without them?
  9. Of the features discussed in this lab, which ones would be present in mosses? Which ones would be present in ferns?

Plants vs. animals

You won't see these questions on the next test; you may only be able to answer them clearly after you do the labs covering animals.

  1. Do you think humans have anything equivalent to meristems?
  2. Your bones grow thicker as you grow up, but your bones don't normally have anything like the rings of a tree trunk. Why not?
  3. Why are plants different from animals? You should be able to answer this in terms of cell structure, mechanisms of development, and ecology. You should also be able to explain how those different kinds of answers are connected.

Plants III: Seed Plant Reproduction

There are a lot of details to remember, but keep in mind that all of this material is about one basic idea: the life cycles of seed plants have evolved in ways that make it possible for these plants to reproduce on dry land -- unlike their algal ancestors, which lived and reproduced only in water.

Concept Questions

  1. Compare and contrast green algae, mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms in terms of: gametophytes, gametes, sporophytes, spores.
  2. Draw a cladogram showing green algae, mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms. Show where chloroplasts, flowers, fruits, pollen, vascular tissue, seeds, and alternation of generation fit on your cladogram.
  3. How can ferns get dispersed to new locations? How can mosses get dispersed to new locations? How can angiosperms and gymnosperms get dispersed to new locations? Why does dispersal matter for plants?
  4. What advantages do angiosperms have over mosses? If angiosperms have advantages, why are there still mosses? (You could ask the same question comparing angiosperms and gymnosperms.)

Structures, processes, & specimens

You’ve now done three plant labs. You should be ready to recognize and understand the following in any of the specimens you’ve seen:

  • Angiosperm
  • Anther
  • Apical & lateral meristems
  • Carpel
  • Dermal, ground, & vascular tissues
  • Double fertilization
  • Embryo
  • Endosperm
  • Epidermis
  • Fertilization: where it occurs, what it produces
  • Filament
  • Flower
  • Fruit
  • Gametes (eggs & sperm)
  • Gametophyte
  • Guard cells
  • Gymnosperm
  • Haploid vs. diploid vs. triploid
  • Meiosis: where it occurs, what it produces
  • Mesophyll
  • Mitosis: where it occurs, what it produces
  • Nonvascular plant
  • Ovary
  • Petal
  • Phloem
  • Pollen
  • Primary & secondary growth
  • Prokaryote
  • Protist
  • Seed
  • Sepal
  • Spore
  • Sporophyte
  • Stamen
  • Stigma
  • Stomata
  • Vascular non-seed plant
  • Vascular seed plant
  • Xylem
  • Zygote

There is a lot of vocabulary for this exam, but keep in mind that it's not primarily a vocabulary test; it's about plants. Rather than simply defining the terms above, you should be asking yourself questions about them, such as:

  • Which specimens did I see that have pollen?
  • What does the pollen do?
  • If the pollen does something important, how can some plants survive without it?

Additional sample questions

You'll see some concept questions, such as those on this page, that can be answered without looking at a specimen. You'll also see a number of questions for which you're asked to look at a particular specimen and answer questions about it. The specimen could be anything similar to what was shown in lab, whether a microscope slide or a larger specimen. Some of the questions may ask you about some structure that you can't see, but which might be present at some other stage in the life cycle. Here are some examples:

  1. Does this plant species require water to carry its sperm for fertilization?
  2. Is this structure (indicated by a pointer in the microscope) haploid, diploid, triploid, or heterokaryotic?
  3. Was this structure produced by primary or secondary growth? By an apical or a lateral meristem?
  4. Does this plant species produce seeds? Pollen? Spores?
  5. Is this a gametophyte or a sporophyte?
  6. What is this tissue or structure? (Could be anything listed in the plant lab vocabulary.)
  7. How many stamens/stigmas/petals does this flower have?
  8. What does this structure produce? (Spores, gametes, seeds, pollen, etc.)
  9. Is an apical meristem visible anywhere in this slide? A lateral meristem?
  10. Draw a simple diagram of the life cycle of this plant and indicate on your picture which part is shown in the microscope.
  11. Draw a simple diagram representing the life cycles of all plants, and explain how the various groups of plants covered in lab differ with respect to life cycle. How are animal and fungal life cycles different from those of plants?

Also, don't forget that this review is only for plants; fungi will also be on lab exam 1. Other activities that you did in lab, such as scientific method, systematics, and gas exchange, won't be on the lab exam.


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