Timelapses of Plants for Communicating how Plants Grow to Students!

Presentation with about a dozen different timelapses of photos!

Because the MV1s collect hourly photos, this is a feature that will be ‘coming soon’ to the MV1 web application! That means anyone who has an MV1 connected to the internet right now (@InnovationCenter @NateReyes @jeremy.hall @cregini) will be able to make GIFs from those trials in the future! 100% possible now manually (as shown in this thread using makeagif.com:
Bok-Choy Recovery
MV1 Summer Trials - #13 by steven

@drew will upload some SUPER HIGH QUALITY videos he created for us to demo in our booth at ACTE Vision 2023 next week but I wanted to share this old presentation I found for any teachers who want to use this content for their Plant Systems courses.

Created by @drew using photos taken by the MV1s this Summer. We hope to be able to bring this feature to all of you in the coming months. For now, it’s possible to do this manually just by downloading a daily image from the MARSfarm web app.

@ajc3xc @hmw creating an ‘interesting’ GIF, is low-hanging fruit with regard to finding a use case for ‘image processing’ that helps teachers in schools communicate why plants are cool and do what they do.

How could we ‘automatically’ run a script that create GIFs for each phase of growth: ‘germination’, ‘seedling’, etc. these are super useful to a teacher - especially if we can help flag/label them as usable artifacts/teaching points. A couple other examples are notifications when germination occurs, if any wilting starts to occur, first flower (new color showing up after 40+ days of increasing green pixel slope), just to name a few.

There is a 6-part documentary series titled ‘Green Planet’ available for only a $5 donation to PBS available on pbs.org! I paid like $40 for this on Amazon a few months ago, so trust me - this is without a doubt the best (high-quality/entertaining/new information) filled documentary series about plants that I have ever seen. I personally never have spent a day in a K-12 classroom - but from what I hear they show movies and to me - this would be PERFECT for an ag class. If you’re a fan of nature you’ve probably seen ‘Planet Earth’ or ‘Blue Planet’ - narrated by David Attenborough. He also narrates ‘Green Planet’ (same producers, editors, etc.) and just like the famous scientist Charles Darwin - David Attenborough also has a deep passion for plants.

Tangent about Darwin

Darwin documented his research about plants (and his best effort to document/share his observations about them) in a book titled ‘The Power of Movement in Plants’. He would painstakingly observe plants for days on end (by candlelight), drawing their movements on paper, measuring them with strings - using all manner DIY contraptions to collect whatever data he could.

The good news (for us) is that David Attenborough has got BBC/Netflix $$$ to buy super fancy cameras so they can collect great data that’s super entertaining. They also hired some great conservationists/botanists to grow and record timelapses of plants so we can all begin to understand how animated plants can be. My favorite part of each of these episodes is the last 10 minutes where they have a ‘how it’s made’ portion all about how they film the timelapses of plants.

‘The Power of Movement in Plants’ (book by Darwin)

Charles Darwin wrote a ~450 page book titled ‘The Power of Movement in Plants’ - it’s essentially him documenting his obsession with trying to understand how plants make decisions about which direction they should grow towards. If you’ve ever watched a green bean or cucumber plant grow up a trellis - you’ll understand how useful the ‘searching’ tendrils of a plant can be for optimizing a plants light/airflow. Just like a dog ‘leans in’ when you give it a good scratch behind the ear, plants ‘lean in’ towards the light - or towards high Co2 - or warmer temps - if it helps them grow more they’ll grow towards it.

Summary of Darwin’s book - which is available on Amazon for ($12)

Darwin presents the key features of plants from an evolutionary perspective indicating that gradual modification of these processes in response to natural selective forces like light and water could enable extensive ability to adapt. The process that creates the circular or elliptical movement of the stem and tips of plants (circumnutation) was identified as a significant one in enabling plants to evolve and adapt to almost any environment on the planet. Darwin also drew attention to the similarities between animals and plants, e.g., sensitivity to touch (thigmotropism), light sensitivity (phototropism), Dnd gravity (geotropism). Darwin used various methods of enquiry: usually setting up rigorous controlled experiments which are clearly explained in the text, reporting the results and then drawing general conclusions.

Examples of his drawings from the book

The circumnutation of a young carnation leaf (Dianthus caryophyllus ) across a three-day period in June, as illustrated in Darwin’s The Power of Movement in Plants (1896)

“Diagram showing the movement of the upper internodes of the common Pea”, left, and two illustrations of Ampelopsis hederacea tendrils, drawn several weeks apart

Darwin’s diagrams recording the movements of plants across several days in The Power of Movement in Plants (1880). Left to right: Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata ); a species of Smithia , and white clover (Trifolium repens )

A new timelapse on YouTube featuring the lettuce cultivar ‘Outredgeous’ which will be used in our new labs called ‘Predictable Plants’. They are designed to require minimal physical interaction - typically just twice during the entire trial. Once to plant the seedlings, and once to transplant them into pots with nutrients. The value of these labs (to teachers) is that they can know what to expect for these plants when variables are manipulated.