Combating the Effect of Global Warming on Plants through Photosynthesis Selection

Category: Plant Science
Table: PLANT1
Experimentation location: School
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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Brautigam, A., Schluter, U., Eisenhut, M., & Gowik, U. (2017, June). On the Evolutionary Origin of CAM Photosynthesis. Retrieved December 5,               2022, from

Editors, B. (2019, March 27). Cam plants - definition and examples. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from

Edwards, G. E., Furbank, R. T., Hatch, M. D., & Osmond, B. C. (2001, January). What Does It Take to Be C4? Lessons from the Evolution of C4              Photosynthesis. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from

Hathaway, B. (2022, October 20). Common weed may be 'Super Plant' that holds key to drought-resistant crops. Retrieved December 5, 2022,                from

How to Start Seeds. (2011). Retrieved December 5, 2022, from                    smid=AG8OLTMV8PYLY&th=1


Additional Project Information

Project website: -- No project website --
Additional Resources: -- No resources provided --

Research Plan:

  1. Set up 18 biodegradable cups with 300 grams of potting soil in each one
  2. Label one cup as “Sorghum-C4”, another cup as “Purslane-C4 & CAM”, and the final cup as “Orchids-CAM”
  3. Create 3 sets of these cups and the cups in each set must be labelled “low water”, “medium water”, and “high water”
    1. Ensure that there are three cups labelled low water, three cups labelled medium water, and three cups labelled high water
  4. Create divots in the soil that are 0.5” deep and place a sorghum seed inside the cup labeled “Sorghum-C4” for the set that is labeled low water. Seeds must be 4” apart
  5. Cover with soil upon placing
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other two plants in their respective cups
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for both medium and high water groups
  8. Let plants be able to have access to natural sunlight by being near a window sill or placing an artificial light source nearby for approximately 8 hours
  9. Set of low water plants will get 15 mL once a day. Medium plants will get 15 mL of water twice every day. High water plants will get 15 mL of water three times a day.
  10. Record observations in regards to height, initial mass, new mass, leave color and state, and other important information every Friday

Over time, the change in height will be observed for every plant in every category. Between each water level category, the heights and rate of height change will be analyzed and checked for which one presents the higher rate of growth and overall growth in low, medium, and high water levels

Questions and Answers

1. What was the major objective of your project and what was your plan to achieve it? 

                The major objective of the project is finding a photosynthetic pathway that can help farmers sustain and increase crop yield and plant growth in presence of varying water levels throughout the year. In order to achieve this, I took purslane, which was recently discovered to utilize both CAM and C4 photosynthesis and compare the crop yield to Orchids, which represent CAM photosynthesis, and Sorghum, which represents C4 photosynthesis. Whichever plant shows the most crop yield, measured through height of the plant, in varying water levels indicate that it's photosynthetic pathway is superior to others.

       a. Was that goal the result of any specific situation, experience, or problem you encountered?  

                                It was not the result of any specific experience or situation.

       b. Were you trying to solve a problem, answer a question, or test a hypothesis?

                                I was trying to solve a problem.

2. What were the major tasks you had to perform in order to complete your project?

       a. For teams, describe what each member worked on.

               The major tasks that had to be performed were: setting up the plant pots and creating batches of them and labelling them appropriately with their water levels; ensuring that they are in a stable, well lit area; gathering data along the way and ensuring proper nutrition.

3. What is new or novel about your project?

       a. Is there some aspect of your project's objective, or how you achieved it that you haven't done before?

              I never grew plants before as a whole, especially from scratch, without supervision.

       b. Is your project's objective, or the way you implemented it, different from anything you have seen?

              Throughout many experiments at my level, I never saw many that compares and takes into factor the different photosynthetic pathways of plants, which is my main focus.

       c. If you believe your work to be unique in some way, what research have you done to confirm that it is?

                My specific experiment is unique as it was only very recently discovered that purslane had both C4 and CAM photosynthesis and having a direct comparison in terms of crop yield had not been done yet.

4. What was the most challenging part of completing your project?

                The most challenging part of completing the project was ensuring and maintaining the water levels and what goes where. With the large amount of biodegradable cups, there are many samples with their own requirements to maintain. Being able to ensure a proper and equal amount of water is distributed was extremely tough and took extreme precision every morning and evening I came in to water.

      a. What problems did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?

               Problems that I encountered was, as mentioned before, ensuring that there was equal water amongst all sets and also being able to water the plants in even intervals without forgetting to reduce variability over time. Overcoming these problems came down to setting reminders, using precise equipment, and increasing my tolerance and patience for accuracy.

      b. What did you learn from overcoming these problems?

               There are many factors that goes into conducting an experiment and there are many variables that have to be controlled. Without having a proper grip on these variables, the results of the experiment could be heavily skewed.

5. If you were going to do this project again, are there any things you would you do differently the next time?

               No, I would do it the same.

6. Did working on this project give you any ideas for other projects? 

               It gave me the idea to test out different plants within the same photosynthetic pathway and of the same species and see are there any differences then and whether it would have impacted my first experiment as a whole.

7. How did COVID-19 affect the completion of your project?

               It did not affect the completion of my project.