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How Temperatures Affect Seed Germination

a 7th Grade Science Project by Emma Peterson

David Peterson

on 1 February 2013

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Transcript of How Temperatures Affect Seed Germination

Topic Explanation: The reason I am curious about how temperature effects seeds before germination is because I know that temperatures effect plants when they are grown. If it turns out that different temperatures do effect seed germination then farmers and gardeners could store seeds at a certain temperature before planting and have a better germination rate. This could be helpful for farmers because they could get a better crop and for people in general because there would be more food grown. Hypothesis I believe that if seeds are exposed put in the freezer for a short period of time then they will show the most rapid growth and if seeds are kept in room temperature conditions then they will show smaller germination rates than the chilled seeds.

In my research, I found that a certain seed germinated the most after a short period of being chilled. The seeds in a refrigerator and room temperature had a smaller percent of germination.

I am unsure of what will happen if I put seeds in refrigerator. I suspect that seeds will have equal or close to equal germination rate of seeds to those stored at room temperature. Purpose Results What I Did The purpose of my experiment is to answer the question, “How does exposing seeds, before germination, to different temperatures effect the germination rate?” I am curious whether freezing the seed will kill it or if it will still germinate. I also wonder if keeping it at room temperature will help or hurt the seed.

This information could be helpful for scientist because they could help farmers to effect their harvest to grow the most possible by keeping their seeds at the best temperatures before planting. by Emma J. Peterson Guerrero, Pablo C. "The Effect of Chilling on Seed Germination of Placea Species Asparagales Amaryllidaceae, an Endemic Genus to Central Chile." Academia.edu. N.p., 2007. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <http://www.academia.edu/>.

I learned from this article that low temperatures can act like a signal sort of like, “Hey, after it stops being cold it will be spring, so then it will be time to grow.” In the experiment described in this article all the species tested showed positive effects of chilling before germination. Harb, Rami J. Chill Out: Investigating Seed Tolerance for Freezing Temperatures.University of Southern California. N.p., 2 Apr. 2005. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <www.uliantubin.com/fairprojects/botany/seedsgermination.html>.
This showed me that people may think that because of cold temperatures seeds will die. Science isn’t always what you might expect. Nkomo, M. "Effects of Pre-chilling and Temperature on Seed Germination of Corchorus Olitorius , a Wild Leafy Vegetable." Academic Journals. N.p., 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <www.academicjournals.org>.

From this source I learned that similar experiments to mine have been conducted. Many other experiments like that one produced results that plant species that grow mainly in the summer have highest germination rates if the seeds have been pre-chilled for about 7 days. However, it was not the case in that experiment. Experiments like these are usually conducted for possible crops. Tompsett, P. B. "The Effect of Chilling and Moisture Status on the Germination, Desiccation Tolerance and Longevity of Aesculus Hippocostanum L. Seed." Oxford Journals. N.p., 1998. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <oob.oxfordjournals.org>.

Scientists studied different seeds to test if drying out the seed before chilling it would make it last longer. The more water left in the seed the better it reacted to chilling. 7th Grade Ms. Lisa Willard How Temperatures Affect Seed Germination Experimental Design

Here are the constants in my experiment.

Constants: number of beans or lentils per bag, time stored, amount of water and sunlight while germinating

Independent Variable: temperature of storage

Dependent Variable: number of seeds germinating Materials: 16.7cm x 15.1cm resealable plastic bags
60 uncooked lentils
60 uncooked Great Northern Beans
6 27.9cm x 26.4cm paper towels
Permanent Marker
De-chlorinated tap water
Approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit room
Approximately 38 degrees Fahrenheit refrigerator
Approximately 0 degrees Fahrenheit freezer Procedure

1. Label the plastic bags as follows: Room temperature (control) bean, Room temperature (control) lentil, 50 degree F. (refrigerator) bean, 50 degree F. (refrigerator) lentil, 30 degree F. (freezer) bean, 30 degree F. (freezer) lentil.

2. Fold paper towels to fit in bags. Place in bags.

3. Place 20 beans in each bag labeled for beans and 20 lentils in each bag labeled for lentils.

4. Put each bag in proper place as said on bag label.

5. Leave undisturbed for 5 days.

6. After the 5 days remove the bags. Wet the paper towel with 15mL of dechlorinated tap water but leave the towel and seeds in bag. Towel should be moist but not soaking.

7. Place bags in warm, sunny spot.

8. Check every day for 10 days for germination. Keep towels moist.

9. Record your findings.

10. Repeat experiment as necessary. Background
Research Pablo He's from

The results of this experiment showed little or no change. This could be caused by another aspect of the experiment, but it showed me to not always expect the results you think might happen. ?! Number of Great Northern Bean Germinations All 60 Lentils sprouted on the 3rd day. The 20 from room temp, the 20 from refrigerator, and the 20 from freezer. This was quite surprising. This data was more diverse and seemed to give the experiment more merit. but I found both results interesting. Conclusions The results of my experiment were different than my hypotheses. The beans stored in the coldest temperatures had the fewest reach germination after ten days. Refrigerated stored seeds had the highest rate of germination but only by 5%. The lentils, all sprouting and all on the same day, gave me no real data about how pre-chilling affected them.

I believe further experiments would need to be conducted to ascertain which storage temperature induces higher germination rates. Freezer storage seems to hurt germination the most as it dropped the rate down by 10% from room temperature and 15% from refrigeration.

My purpose for the experiment has been met as I've answered many of my questions. I've learned that placing certain types of beans in the freezer can limit germination and that placing them within the refrigerator for a five day period may help. Thank you!
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