It’s hot, but don’t fret- I’ve got Frozen treats to cool off the blog. Parodies are kind of a theme this summer, so why not go after the mother of them all? That’s right- Frozen: A Plant Science Parody will be featured in the coming blog posts.
Unless you have been living under a rock these past few months, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a version of Let it Go for everyday of the year. I plan on turning all of Frozen’s catchy ear bugs into songs that will teach you something about plant science. Don’t worry, I’ll just be posting the lyrics.
Here’s what’s coming up:
In Summer: What scientists do in summer!
Have you ever wondered what scientists do in summer? This song is just for fun.
Frozen Heart: Plant Cold Tolerance
Plants can’t snuggle away in a burrow when the cold winter comes. Find out how cold hardy plants handle the weather while others succumb to frostbite.
Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?: Do you wanna make a plastid?
Plastids are important plant cell organelles that perform specialized biochemical reactions and/or store critical metabolites. Hopefully you’ve heard of chloroplasts, in which photosynthesis occurs, but there are other types of plastids and plants know just how to develop the right ones in the right tissues.
For the First Time in Forever: Vernalization
Some plants have sophisticated time-keeping abilities and know just when to kick developmental programs into high gear when the seasons change- like a vibrant party after a long and dormant winter.
Love is an Open Door: Stomata Open the Door
Plants need carbon dioxide in the same way we need oxygen, but how much do you know about their respiratory system? Plants need a way of making this gas available to all of their tissues. Stomata and their guard cells open the door to let it in (of course, they close the door too to make sure water isn’t constantly being lost).
Let it go: Abscission
Plants may seem stoic, like they’re always holding something in, but when necessary they can also ‘let it go.’ Abscission is the process of releasing certain tissues according to a developmental program. What triggers plants to release their flower petals and trees to drop their leaves? Hint: It’s biochemistry and not the sudden triumph over inner emotional turmoil.
Fixer-Upper: PSII Damage and Repair
Photosystem II uses light energy to split water, fueling the beginning of the photosynthetic electron transfer chain. This is a dangerous job that results in frequent damage to this complex molecular machine. Instead of giving up completely on the broken enzymes, systems in plant cells engage in ‘fixing them up’ until complete functionality is restored.