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Illinois IGB


Art of Science Gallery 06

Sweet Spots

Ocean Optics Jaz Spectrophotometer

Berkley Walker, Elliot Brazil, Jessica Ayers, Cody Jones and Donald Ort

Donald Ort Laboratory

Funded by a subcontract from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

What if leaves are too greedy? When leaves grow on top of each other in a crop canopy, the leaves at the top prevent the leaves at the bottom from receiving light. This "shading effect" could be minimized if leaves at the top had less chlorophyll and allowed more light to reach deep into the canopy. Studying the relationship between chlorophyll content and light absorption with plots like the ones seen here could lead to the development of more productive crop plants.