I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.
This is a photo of the skin of a pumpkin seed. A pumpkin seed was taken (not stolen!) from one of the pumpkins that are lining outside of the Office of Religious life. I cracked open the white, thicker outer pumpkin cover, took the seed out, and then carefully removed the extremely thin seed skin off to surprisingly reveal a pale white seed underneath.
Putting the skin underneath the microscope revealed interesting and seemingly random patches of varying shades of green, where I speculate that darker shades equate to fewer opaque areas and lighter to more translucent areas. It was surprising to see these varying shades because I had assumed that the skin itself would be all incredibly translucent given that it was so thin when I had pulled off the sample. I wonder what the reason for this difference might be. One reason might be that certain external environments (e.g. temperature changes, physical pressure) during the development of the skin could lead to thicker areas; alternatively, it could also just be due to my own doing where I pulled this skin unevenly.
I also wonder about the relationship between structure and function. It is odd that this seed skin is so thin. One of the reasons that we have thin is as a source of protection from infection/other external forces. It also acts semipermeable barrier that allows certain materials in and out of our body to maintain homeostasis. I wonder if it the fact that it is thin and translucent allows for these same functions to occur for the pumpkin seed.