Competition in Experimental Botany

Competition in Experimental Botany

  1. Introduction

Competition for limited resources has been considered as one of the fundamental factors that influence the growth, development and distribution of plants. According to Darwin’s theory, competition is inevitable and influences the survival of organisms (Shen et al.). In this context, the experiment aimed at determining the impact of competition on the growth and development of plants. The experiment used two types of samples; the test sample included plants exposed to competition while the control included the plants without competition. Plants exposed to competition undergo different modifications in their roots, leaves, stem, as well as flowers to enhance their adaptations to the environment. The study hypothesized that;

The height of plants exposed to competition (test sample) was smaller than those of the control sample.

The root length of the control sample was smaller than that of the test sample.

The number of flowers for the test sample was more than that of the control sample.

In this case, the study assumed that competition would lead to limited availability of nutrients and water, therefore, leading to stunted growth of the stem. In the case of the roots, the plants with the higher competition will have longer roots to enable them to compete effectively for the nutrients. Lastly, the number of flowers would increase when the competition is higher to enhance competition and increase chances of survival.

  1. Materials & Methods

A total of 108 plant pots were obtained and divided into two categories. In the first 54 pots, a single pea was planted; these were the control samples. In the other 54 pots, one pea seed together with three bean seeds was planted (test/ experimental sample). The potted plants were provided with similar nutrition, water, and sunlight conditions for four weeks. After the four weeks, each potted plant was examined to determine the following, the height of the plant, length of the root, and the number of flowers of the pea plants in the control and test pots. The height of the plant was measured using a tape measure from the base of the plant (top level of the soil) up to the end of the highest level of the plant. The length of the root was measured using the tape measure from the ground level of the plant up to the deepest tip of the root. The number of flowers were determined by manual counting. The data was recorded on Microsoft Excel 2016 spreadsheet and analyzed using the same software. The parameters such as p-value, t-test analysis, and mean height were determined.

  • Results

The t-test analysis was conducted on each parameter (height of the plant, length of root, and the number of flowers). The mean of the height of the control plants was 100.037 mm, while that of the test was 83.204mm. The p-value for the height of the plant was <0.002.

Table 1. t-test Analysis for Height in mm

The mean of the plant height for the control and test samples was determined and plotted for comparison as indicated in figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Comparison of the Mean Height

The mean of the root length of the control plants was 47.685 mm, while that of the test was 33.333 mm. The p-value for the height of the plant was <0.005.

Table 2. t-test Analysis for Root Length in mm

A graphical representation of the comparison of the root length between the test and control samples is indicated in figure 2. According to the figure below, the men root length for the control plants was higher than that of the test sample.

Figure 2. Comparison of the Root Length

The mean of the number of flowers of the control plants was 10.519, while that of the test was 4.056. The p-value for the height of the plant was <9.441 E-08.

Table 3. t-test Analysis for Number of Flowers

A graphical representation for the number of glowers in each sample indicated that the mean number of flowers in the control sample was higher than that of the test sample.

Figure 3. Comparison of the Number of Flowers

Therefore, the results of the experiment indicated that the competition influenced the height of the plant. The plants exposed to completion (test sample) had a shorter mean than that of the control. Therefore, the height of the two plant samples was significantly related, meaning competition was significant in influencing the height of the plant because the p-value was <0.005. Therefore, the alternative hypothesis was accepted. The results indicated that the mean length of the root for the control was higher than that of the test. In this case, the alternative hypothesis was rejected. The p-value for the root length was 0.005, meaning that they were insignificantly different. Lastly, the P-value for the number of flowers in the test and control samples was <9.441 E-08 which was <0.005; thus indicating that the two samples were significantly differentiated. Therefore, competition influenced the number of lowers.

  1. Discussion

The study aimed at determining the impact of competition on the height of plant, size of the root, as well as the number of flowers. The results of the experiment indicated that all the parameters for the control sample were higher than that of the test sample. In this context, the competition for the nutrients, water, space, air, and sunlight influenced the growth and development of the plants. When the competition was high, the plants did not get sufficient water, nutrients, and sunlight leading to stunted growth of the stem, roots, and reduced number of flowers as indicated in the test samples. Therefore, the existence of competition in plants influences the growth and development of the plants due to insufficient supply of the nutrients, water, as well as sunlight. Competition influences the distribution of the plants because it affects reproduction. By affecting the number of flowers, it means that the number of seeds and reproduction will be affected. Therefore, an increase in competition affects the population of a specific species of plant. The study accepted the first alternative hypothesis that the height of the plant exposed to the competition is shorter than that without competition. The information from this experiment would be significant for botanists, ecologists, agriculturalists, and farmers because it would enhance their understanding of competition in plants. In this manner, people would understand the influence of competition on the plant characteristics that would affect crop productivity. For instance, since competition has been seen to cause the reduced size of the stem, root, as well as the number of flowers, it would be essential in the determination of the yields of crops. Therefore, management of competition in a farm or economical setting would assist in the distribution and performance of a particular plant.

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