The Mechanism of Trap Closing in Dionaea Muscipula
Jonathan Han, Robert Wang
Burnaby North Secondary
Floor Location : S 007 D
Venus fly traps are a marvel of plant electrical, mechanical, and biochemical engineering, and have been called “one of the most wonderful plants in the world" by naturalist Charles Darwin. Plants use electrochemical signals in the form of action potentials to create a system of internal communication similar to the nervous system of animals. In our experiment, we subject Venus fly traps of the species Dionaea Muscipula to electrical stimulation to test the effects of electrical currents on the opening and closing of the traps. We found that the ability of the traps to close is dependent on both the current and the location where the stimulation is applied. If the applied current reaches a certain threshold, it will cause the traps to close without stimulation of the trigger hair. This can be achieved by stimulating the outer epidermises of the lobes of the traps with electrodes connected in a simple electric circuit. If the current is applied in short spurts separated by even time intervals, the traps will close gradually but if the the current does not reach the threshold, the traps will not close at all. Experimentation was also done to test the effects of electrical stimulation on the activity of the traps after the closing process. In addition, we also tested the effects of pH on the ability of the traps to close, as well as the effects of closing the traps on the total energy expenditure of the plants. We analyzed our data statistically to find mathematical relationships between variables.