Your project will need to build on the scientific literature and must in some way relate to the biology of plants. Working in teams of 3-4 students each, you will choose a project, design an experiment and write a proposal, collect and analyze data, and give an oral scientific presentation.
When I introduce students to the Botany research project in the first week of lab, I take care to tell them that the goal is a publishable product. They must ground their study in the literature and design it so that it has well-developed controls, sufficient replication, etc. The goal is that if all goes basically as expected the project will be--at a minimum--worth presenting at a conference; the ultimate goal is, of course, publication.
I also give students as much freedom as possible to choose their topic. The only rule is that it must somehow relate to plant biology. This freedom often leads to interdisciplinary projects that make bridges between plant biology and the areas of expertise of my faculty colleagues. As a result, I get to explore many new areas of biology (like microbiology, molecular biology, animal behavior, endocrinology). It also demonstrates that I have very generous colleagues, because they are always willing to lend their expertise, equipment, and even their labs to Botany students who ask for help.
Here is a list of all the projects that have occurred in Botany over the years (by title). My first thought after assembling this list**: I'm so proud of all these students and their hard work! It is one of the most inspiring, creative, exciting, challenging, and fun parts of my job to mentor students as they design these interesting research projects when they are so new to studying botany, i.e., when they are budding (ha) botanists.
Second thought: I need to work on encouraging students to come up with more descriptive titles and get away from the standard "Effects of X on Y." A task for 2020!
[to be updated when final proposals are due in 1 week]
- Effects of Pseudomonas uticensis and Rhizobium leguminosarum on the growth of Glycine max
- Effects of chlorine on growth of tomato plants
- Impact of biochar on final biomass of tomatoes intercropped with soybeans in nutrient poor soil
- Effects of erythritol on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and corn (Zea mays) plant growth and seed germination time [resulted in this publication!]
- Effects of artificial light at night (ALAN) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on Arabidopsis thaliana
- The effects of 17-beta estradiol on seed germination in an invasive ornamental grass, Miscanthus sinensis, versus a native counterpart, Panicum virgatum
- The effects of atrazine and 17-beta estradiol on Zea mays growth
- Domestic applications of copper absorption by Helianthus annuus L.
- The effects of intercropping on yield, biomass, and height of scallions and lettuce compared to cultivating those crops individually
- Synergistic effects of linalool and linalyl acetate on behavioral and physiological responses in mice
- The effects of sound on the growth and biomass of Zea mays
- Comparison of anthocyanin concentrations in organically versus non-organically grown blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)
- Effects of herbicides on bean seedling pole selection
- Effects of sound waves on the growth of Zea mays
- The effect of estrogen on the growth of Zea mays under three different soil conditions
- The effects of magnetic field strength on the change in height of Zea mays
- Effects of artificial wind and sand abrasion on transpiration rates in Phaseolus vulgaris
- The effectiveness of companion planting Phaseolus vulgaris and Cucumis sativus
- The effects of temperature and germination time on pole selection in bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris)
- The allelopathic effect of cigarette butts on growth of Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda grass)
- Assessment of the effect of climate change-induced lake effect snowfall on tree ring width
- Impact of Manduca sexta herbivory and simulated herbivory on Solanum lycopersicum
- Effects of streptomycin on the growth of Zea mays
- Effects of intermittent light at night on germination in Arabidopsis thaliana
- Allelopathic effects of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) soil on radish (Raphanus sativus) growth
- Effects of road salt on growth of Zea mays
- Effect of chlorpyrifos on soybean biomass
- The effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of the herbicide atrazine on the growth of duckweed (Lemna minor)
- Effect of 17-beta estradiol on the growth of Lemna minor, a common aquatic plant
- The effect of vibratory stimuli on Raphanus sativus during seed germination
- The effects of light on chloroplast development in Glycine max
- Road salt on biomass of radishes
- Effects of sandy, peat, and top soil types on the production of nepetalactone in catnip (Nepeta cataria)
- Effect of fertilization on radish growth
- Effects of cinnamon and cedarwood essential oils and caffeine on Candida albicans
- Olfactory testing for the photochemical degradation of isohumulones in canned pilsner beer
- Effect of gentamicin and plant extracts on growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- The influence of Carassius auratus waste water on the biomass of Lemna valdiviana
- The effect of UV light on Zea mays
- Effects of caffeine on shoot and root growth in radish plants (Raphanus sativus)
- The effect of soil salinity on growth of three species in the family Fabaceae: Alaska pea, red kidney bean, and lima bean
- Combined effects of mycorrhizal fungi and Rhizobium bacteria on the growth of soybean plants
*2018 is missing because I was on sabbatical that semester
**for 2011-2018, I assembled the list by looking up proposal titles in my turnitin.com classrooms. I hope I didn't miss any groups by doing it this way, but a few years are looking suspiciously sparse.