The Effect of Heat on the Microgametophyte Development in Arabidopsis thaliana

Research Topic:

The Effect of Heat on the Microgametophyte Development in Arabidopsis thaliana


Faculty Mentor: Professor Erica Kipp

Research Student: Madison Booth


According to Kipp (2008), there is significant difference between heat and control groups of A. thaliana with respect to the number of rosette leaves, the number of flower buds, the number of flowers, and the number of fruits produced.  The current project will address if the pollen is affected by heat stress and if so, to what extent.  Four parameters will be used to determine microgametophyte development and viability in heat-stressed plants compared to control plants grown at optimum temperatures:

1) pollen morphology

2) pollen size

3) pollen counts

4) pollen viability

Global climate change is believed to cause a variety of heat-related stress responses in plants, which may alter their ability to survive and reproduce.  Results can be applied to program management in agronomy, land management, etc.

To date, we have conducted an extensive literature search of published scientific papers and  several books on pollination biology, including The Arabidopsis Manual.  .  We have targeted protocols we will be using to gather data  on each of the four research parameters.  I have begun learning laboratory techniques and am currently growing a set of plants in order to become more familiar with some of the lab equipment and techniques specific to pollination biology.  Once that is done, and I am comfortable with the protocols, I will germinate experimental plants to heat stress.  We have put together a timeline and expect that experimental plants will be growing by December, 2013.