Naturalist Perspectives Challenge: Breaking Buds

As plants in the area are changing for spring, this challenge asks you to find and keep track of an example of breaking buds for. To complete this challenge, follow the steps below and write up a blog post by April 24th extended to May 1.

  1. Find a bud that’s starting to open. It can be in Site Alpha or elsewhere.
  2. Write down your observations of this bud in your notebook; be sure to record the date, time, location and weather conditions. Take a picture.
  3. Observe this bud again at least two more times over the next week, repeating step 2 for each observation you make.
  4. Try to identify (ID) the species of the plant this bud is a part of. This may be challenging since typically it is easiest to identify plants by their leaves, but try using a field guide like Bark to determine the species of the plant. If you’re working on this challenge in a place like The Arnold Arboretum you can of course just use the ID tag on the plant to determine the species.
  5. Investigate! Using whatever resources you’d like, find out about this plant. Is there anything unique or special about this species? What triggers the buds of this plant to open? When were the buds formed? Find out what changes are occurring at the cellular and molecular level as the bud you are observing changes. Are there particular proteins or chemicals involved in the growth you’re seeing?
  6. Summarize your work for steps 2 – 5 in a blog post. Be sure to include the pictures you’ve taken as well as information on date, time, location and weather conditions related to your observations.
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