Plants have evolved on Earth to use gravity as a defining force. It directs plant growth in a germinating seedling and positions flowers and fruits in a mature plant.
The shoots go up and the roots go down, right?
But how about plants used for hanging baskets, weeping trees and trailing plants? These plants have different responses to gravity, and although we can breed for these responses, we do not always know what genes are being affected.
The mechanisms underlying plant responses to gravity are difficult to study. Experiments require controls, but there is no way to ‘turn off’ gravity, at least not on Earth. The only real control for gravity experiments is the lack of gravity, and pretty much the only way to do that is through spaceflight.
Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology Sarah Wyatt will discuss this topic at the next Ohio University Science Café, “Plant Gravity Perception: from Earth to International Space Station (ISS),” at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Baker Center Front Room. Wyatt will talk about plants, gravity and her lab’s recent spaceflight experiments. The event also can be viewed online: https://livestream.com/ohiocas/events/8375872.
Science Cafés are part of Ohio University’s Café Series. The series provides a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty presenters, staff and the Athens community.
Free coffee is offered to the first 50 attendees, and participants who ask questions can win a free t-shirt.
The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Sigma Xi.
Learn more! Watch the 1-minute Café Series video: