1) Describe five environmental factors that affect a plant's growth rate and give an example of how they do so. These can include both physical and chemical factors. 2) Describe how fertilizers...

1) Describe five environmental factors that affect a plant's growth rate and give an example of how they do so. These can include both physical and chemical factors.

2) Describe how fertilizers and herbicides both can be detrimental for shorelines.

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mr-mayonnaise | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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Plants grow due to a variety of outside influences that can cause the plant to grow slower, faster, or change its form all together. 

1) The amount of sunlight a plant receives can have a strong influence over the growth of a plant. The majority of plants require solar energy in order to perform photosynthesis. If a plant does not receive enough sunlight it can starve of energy and wilt. Growth rate with not enough sunlight would be very poor. 

2) Plants require water as well as animals. They use water to undergo cellular respiration to create energy and without enough water they would be unable to create energy through this process. Some plants that grow in nutrient-poor soil, like flytraps and pitcher plants, utilize this process more so than other plants by catching bugs and small organisms that they then break down for energy. 

3) Plants build themselves and repair cells using nutrients from the soil. Nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphates, and other molecules help them build important molecules they can use to build up their physical structure. 

4) Photosynthesis and cellular respiration each require gasses in the air that can be used to carry/assist with electron movement. CO2 and O2 are both needed by plants for survival. Plants can also make both of these, as the aforementioned processes can use and create what the other process creates/uses (ex. Photosynthesis needs CO2 and makes O2, C.R. needs O2 and makes CO2). 

5) Plants require their personal space just like most other living things. Some plants, like grasses, have an intertwined root system that allows them to grow very close to one another. Some plants however require a much larger space around them to spread their roots, such as trees and shrubs. If not given enough space these plants will have a stunted growth as they compete for resources with their competing neighbors. 

Fertilizers and herbicides are marvels of the farming world. They help crops grow faster and with less irritation from pests and invasive plants and allow for a much larger yield when it comes time for harvesting. However, these chemicals can cause detriment to other ecosystems they encounter. For example, lets say a farmer decides to use a fertilizer on his plants. He then waters his plants and some of the fertilizer runs off into a storm drain and is carried to a shoreline where it is released into the water. That fertilizer can have very negative side effects, like causing and explosion of growth in algae causing all nearby plants to be edged out of their home. Without the plants the area become oxygen and nutrient poor and local creatures have to leave the area or risk starving/drowning. Herbicides can cause a much more direct depopulation as these noxious chemicals are sometimes not just designed to kill plants. They can cause death/mutation in unborn marine animals and plants and kill off large areas of an ecosystem if not handled correctly. 

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