Leaf Life

I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University. I had never used a fold scope before, and was excited to see clear, interesting images through the lenses. One of my best images was the one shown here, which shows a small leaf that I found on the Princeton University campus near Guyot Hall.

The image shows the edge of the leaf, with distinct circles/squares that I believe are cells. While I cannot distinguish between the different organelles within the cell, I find it exciting that the fold scope has the power to magnify leaves up to the point to see their cells. It is also interesting to see the bright green color of the leave that comes from chlorophyll within the cells; as the image shows the green color is not uniform in its intensity, as some cells look more yellow while others look more green. This likely shows how individual plant cells can produce/have different levels of chlorophyll.

While my image was something I thought was cool to look at, I’m wondering if the fold scope can be used more efficiently in a way that magnifies the leaf even more, as I was having difficult lining up the light source with my fold scope. I was also wondering if the leaf that I looked at would look different under the fold scope if it was a different time of year. Given that it is currently fall, it is possible that the leaf shows less chlorophyll than it would in the summer, as the fall leaves are currently changing color and falling off the trees. It would be interesting to study the different changes in leaf appearances in the fold scope throughout the changing seasons.

Madison Hamilton

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