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    AmaJade's Avatar
    AmaJade Posts: 8, Reputation: 2
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    #1

    Jul 12, 2013, 02:47 AM
    Book Research: Plant life in different light.
    My question is unconventional and would ask you to dive fully into conjecture. It might be impossible to answer... That being said, onward with the question!

    I'm an author, doing research for a book, and wonder what plant life would/could look like on a planet that is mainly exposed to infra-red light.

    I understand how Earth plants use various forms of light to photosynthesize and grow. I also understand what significant infra-red light does to Earth plants. (Effecting flowering and stem growth).

    Using this as a model, (or maybe not?), assuming a plant could grow in full on infra-red light, and very little visible, or UV light; (read as almost non-existant) what would it look like? How would it differ from "Earth plants"? What color would it be? etc.

    Any help, whether based on scientific fact, or your own personal conjecture, would be greatly appreciated.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #2

    Jul 12, 2013, 05:48 AM
    How about a little non-conjecture too? This is from http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4576.html:
    The plants use red and infrared light to regulate stem growth and flowering response. Plant cells produce a chemical called a phytochrome, which has two versions. One version, PR, is sensitive to red light (660 nm). Red light converts PR into PFR. PFR signals the plant to grow short stocky stems and also helps the plant grow into specific shapes. The plants also use red and infrared light to measure uninterrupted darkness. As far as plants are concerned in terms of flowering, if there's no red light, it's dark.
    PFR is sensitive to infrared light (730 nm), which converts it into PR. When PR levels build to a critical amount, scientists hypothesize that a hormone called floragen becomes active and induces the plant to flower. The reason floragen is called hypothetical is that researchers can see its effects, but they haven't found it yet.
    PFR reverts to PR naturally. For PFR to be present, it must be renewed continuously by the presence of red light. When plants are shaded, they get less of the needed red light. In the absence of red light, the PR version predominates and the stem stretches to reach the light. Lower side branches shaded by leaves from above have PR and grow longer until they reach the light. Then they modify their growth in the presence of PFR.
    Outdoors during the day, there is more red light than infrared. However, at dawn and dusk the first and last light from the sun isn't the visible red of the rising or setting sun, but infrared, which is at the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum. The infrared converts the PFR to PR and the critical dark-time begins or ends its countdown.
    This has too many implications for them all to be discussed here. For instance, it explains why plants grown under incandescent lamps stretch (more infrared than red light). The effects of the two spectrums can also be used in innovative indoor lighting programs.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #3

    Jul 12, 2013, 06:10 AM
    I hope you are doing research at a college/university library as well as on the Internet. There are scientific databases that a reference librarian (or you) can access and then print out articles of earlier research on this topic. And always be sure to look at the bibliographies for more articles and even books.
    AmaJade's Avatar
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    #4

    Jul 12, 2013, 12:22 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    How about a little non-conjecture too? This is from http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4576.html:
    The plants use red and infrared light to regulate stem growth and flowering response. Plant cells produce a chemical called a phytochrome, which has two versions. One version, PR, is sensitive to red light (660 nm). Red light converts PR into PFR. PFR signals the plant to grow short stocky stems and also helps the plant grow into specific shapes. The plants also use red and infrared light to measure uninterrupted darkness. As far as plants are concerned in terms of flowering, if there's no red light, it's dark.
    PFR is sensitive to infrared light (730 nm), which converts it into PR. When PR levels build to a critical amount, scientists hypothesize that a hormone called floragen becomes active and induces the plant to flower. The reason floragen is called hypothetical is that researchers can see its effects, but they haven't found it yet.
    PFR reverts to PR naturally. For PFR to be present, it must be renewed continuously by the presence of red light. When plants are shaded, they get less of the needed red light. In the absence of red light, the PR version predominates and the stem stretches to reach the light. Lower side branches shaded by leaves from above have PR and grow longer until they reach the light. Then they modify their growth in the presence of PFR.
    Outdoors during the day, there is more red light than infrared. However, at dawn and dusk the first and last light from the sun isn't the visible red of the rising or setting sun, but infrared, which is at the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum. The infrared converts the PFR to PR and the critical dark-time begins or ends its countdown.
    This has too many implications for them all to be discussed here. For instance, it explains why plants grown under incandescent lamps stretch (more infrared than red light). The effects of the two spectrums can also be used in innovative indoor lighting programs.
    Thank you. I read a lot of information very similar to this, and while that tells me a fair bit, I'm afraid I'm simply not sure of my conclusions as I, in no way, think myself a botanist.
    Because the plants in this story will have grown in this light setting forever, adapted there, as its another planet, their characteristics would be different, yes? Perhaps a little simpler breakdown for my botany challenged brain?

    They'd be long and spindly, flower easily, and have broad, long reaching leaves? Am I getting that right? (assuming the planetary climate allowed for such growth.)

    As for color: In the simplest terms possible... Plants reflect green light, hence why they're green. (I really hope I got that right) Should a plant not be exposed to any green light, or perhaps very, very little, would it still be green? Or could/do they reflect other light spectrums as well? Or is that unanswerable?

    I've also thought of another question...
    I've read that there are recent discoveries concerning inter-plant communication. Would the light range effect these processes?

    I apologize if I seem very un-knowledgeable about this, but I am. ^^) My book is a work of fiction though, I do want to base it in some scientific fact. So all thoughts and ideas are welcome concerning this.
    AmaJade's Avatar
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    #5

    Jul 12, 2013, 12:26 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    I hope you are doing research at a college/university library as well as on the Internet. There are scientific databases that a reference librarian (or you) can access and then print out articles of earlier research on this topic. And always be sure to look at the bibliographies for more articles and even books.
    Thank you. I do have plans to do so. However, I live in a very rural area and making the trip to the university is quite an ordeal. That being said, I am trying to as much research as possible on the internet beforehand. I'd like to be prepared a bit more before tackling the great databases my 'local' university has to offer. And, let's be honest here, I'm not sure that I would understand a vast majority of the technical books I would find there concerning this topic, as my background is in writing, not bio-sciences. ^^)
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #6

    Jul 12, 2013, 12:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by AmaJade View Post
    I'm not sure that I would understand a vast majority of the technical books I would find there concerning this topic, as my background is in writing, not bio-sciences. ^^)
    Then why are you writing a book on such a technical topic?

    You can email or telephone an area university and talk with a reference librarian to get some leads on research. He/she might even send you articles and book titles that your local public library will interlibrary loan for you.
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    #7

    Jul 12, 2013, 12:41 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    Then why are you writing a book on such a technical topic?
    Ah. I'm not. ^^)

    My book is a work of fiction. Fantasy. Sci-fi.
    In it, the main character is sent to another planet.

    The planet is a real planet, recently discovered. It's star puts out mainly infra-red light. I am simply trying to do a bit of research so I can make more believable plant life on this planet, something based a bit more in fact rather than arbitrarily making it all up. I am in no way writing a botanical paper, or anything of the sort. ^^)

    Also, my area, unfortunately does not have its own library. Sad, but true. Again, I live in a very, very rural area.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #8

    Jul 12, 2013, 12:47 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by AmaJade View Post
    Ah. I'm not. ^^)

    My book is a work of fiction. Fantasy. Sci-fi.
    In it, the main character is sent to another planet.

    The planet is a real planet, recently discovered. It's star puts out mainly infra-red light. I am simply trying to do a bit of research so I can make more believable plant life on this planet, something based a bit more in fact rather than arbitrarily making it all up. I am in no way writing a botanical paper, or anything of the sort. ^^)

    Also, my area, unfortunately does not have its own library. Sad, but true. Again, I live in a very, very rural area.
    Ah, thanks for telling us that. It puts an entirely different spin on things.
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    #9

    Jul 12, 2013, 12:52 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    Ah, thanks for telling us that. It puts an entirely different spin on things.
    Ah, my mistake. I had thought I had put it before. My brain is a bit frazzled from today's bit of research. Too many technical terms floating through my head. ^^)
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #10

    Jul 12, 2013, 01:02 PM
    I don't know enough to know how much 'warmth' infrared produces.
    It's hard to imagine this planet of yours, without visible light to 'see' by with our human eyes anyway. Or this star of yours that emits only infrared - why?
    Protostars emit mostly infrared, I believe, because the visible spectrum is absorbed by the gasses and dust still around them.
    Your planet might have a tough time developing plant life under a newly forming star?

    Sounds like the science in your novel has to go way back before you get to the plants.
    Are you sure you have enough astronomy and physics to write this?
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    #11

    Jul 12, 2013, 01:21 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    I don't know enough to know how much 'warmth' infrared produces.
    It's hard to imagine this planet of yours, without visible light to 'see' by with our human eyes anyway. Or this star of yours that emits only infrared - why?
    Protostars emit mostly infrared, I believe, because the visible spectrum is absorbed by the gasses and dust still around them.
    Your planet might have a tough time developing plant life under a newly forming star?

    Sounds like the science in your novel has to go way back before you get to the plants.
    Are you sure you have enough astronomy and physics to write this?
    An excellent and valid question. The simple answer is no, I do not have enough astronomy or physics knowledge. However, I have done research, and continue to do so, on this star.

    Perhaps it will help you to tell you what I do know? ^^)

    The planet I'm referring to is Gliese 581 g. The star, Gliese 581. The planet has been hailed as one that could possibly harbor life. (For real, not a fictional star or planet)

    I have no idea why the star puts out mostly infra-red light, only that NASA says it does. Perhaps because of the type of star it is? (While I'm no botanist, I'm certainly no astronomer either.) I have been told that since the planet does put out a **small** amount of other wavelengths, that a human most probably would be able to see, if only a little. Also, infra-red light does/can produce heat... that's what you feel when you go into the sunlight... or so my research says, so far.

    I'm not particularly concerned with those kind of specifics though, whether its possible nor not in reality. That part, I have no troubles with making up. ^^) I simply would like to know what impact that sort of environment might have on the native plant life. Whether, in reality, there is plant life or not is of no consequence to me, as at the end of the day, it IS a work of fiction. I'd simply like to have a bit of a scientific base to start from.

    Also, I suppose I should say that while I am basing this story on this planet, the planet will not be named. Or, perhaps a better way to say it is that I will not say, "Hey! Here's Gliese 581 g!" It will be referred to by another name, and as such, a few discrepancies are allowable.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #12

    Jul 12, 2013, 01:57 PM
    'I'm not particularly concerned with those kind of specifics though.. '
    Uh oh. I think you will be ripped to shreds by the SciFi community. Even if you don't include any of the science in your novel, you need a good theoretical base to make it plausible. Even the silliest Star Trek episodes from the 60s did that. And these days.. critical crowd.
    But still, it sounds like a good story!
    AmaJade's Avatar
    AmaJade Posts: 8, Reputation: 2
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    #13

    Jul 12, 2013, 02:28 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    'I'm not particularly concerned with those kind of specifics though..'
    Uh oh. I think you will be ripped to shreds by the SciFi community. Even if you don't include any of the science in your novel, you need a good theoretical base to make it plausible. Even the silliest Star Trek episodes from the 60s did that. And these days.. critical crowd.
    But still, it sounds like a good story!
    ah... Perhaps that was bad phrasing...

    In fact, I AM trying to put as much science fact into it as possible, hence the research. My star research, however is still in its infancy, and to be honest, there's not too much information out there as of yet about this system.

    So perhaps I should say it this way:

    At this point, and on this thread, I am mainly concerned about the plant life and its reactions to the infra-red light for its growth cycles.

    The whys and how's of the light source, the specifics of the planet and star themselves, and all of the astronomical aspects are for another forum, I think. ^^)

    That being said, I do wish to thank you for your questions and interest. But rest assured, I am also working out those details. ^^) I do not wish to be slaughtered by the Sci-fi and Fantasy communities. I think I might take enough flack as it is, trying to combine those two heavy-weight genres. (people get rather shirty when it comes to that, or so my editor likes to say) ^^)

    Though, again, to be honest, I'm not sure I understand fully what you mean by theoretical base, it seems a lot can be lost in the context of text. But, I'm afraid this isn't the place for that discussion. ^^) Should you like to communicate further on this topic, please feel free to send me a message.

    Also, I apologize if some of my comments or answers are a bit vague... there are copyright issues I have to deal with as well. ^^) I thank you all for your continued assistance and patience.
    Zea's Avatar
    Zea Posts: 217, Reputation: 19
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    #14

    Jul 12, 2013, 02:37 PM
    The Effect of Infrared Light on Plant Growth | eHow
    AmaJade's Avatar
    AmaJade Posts: 8, Reputation: 2
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    #15

    Jul 12, 2013, 02:59 PM
    Thank you. I have read that information, and while its great, it pertains only to Earth plants. My question actually is geared toward what the effects would be or could possibly be on the plants grown in that sort of environment all the time, rather than intermittent exposure. (IE: another planet). I was answered a bit before, but was looking for confirmation of my suspicions.

    What ways could a plant possibly adapt in that environment?
    Would the color of the plant change?
    And to confirm my earlier conclusions: They'd be long, spindly, with broad leaves, early growth spurts, and possibly flower early by Earth standards? (assuming the planetary climate could support such growth. I also assume the temperature would affect the leaf structure. Like pine needles in cold weather vs maple leaves in moderate temperatures.)

    Again, I'm certainly no botanist, so I want to make sure I'm reading it all right and coming to the right conclusions. ^^)
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    #16

    Jul 12, 2013, 04:06 PM
    I can't correct you, sorry. I know VERY little about this. When we studied Astronomy, my teacher isolated this subject from us completely.

    “-whereas light with wavelengths longer is 700 nm is in the infrared region and is also invisible.”

    “The vital rays for plant growth are…red light at 650 nm, and far-red light at 730 nm.”

    I think that if a plant grows under infrared light ONLY, then the plant will be damaged. Maybe the plant will wither, or something, when exposed to this light excessively (for a long time). I am NOT saying that I'm right. I could be very wrong about this.

    The plant needs all the spectrum colors to grow (some more than others). I think! If what I say holds true to its ground, then a plant can't grow under one light and survive for a long time.

    I can be VERY wrong! I think a book/article can help you more.
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    #17

    Jul 12, 2013, 06:32 PM
    “-700 nm is in the infrared”

    “-red light at 650 nm, and far-red light at 730 nm.”

    Infrared is invisible. We don't know what color it is. Probably it's something like red.

    “The 650 and 730 nm wavelengths control flowering through light-induced changes in the plant pigment, phytochrome.”

    Sorry, I forgot to include this before.

    "Would the color of the plant change?" No.

    This means that the green color is caused by the infrared light. Which means the color would still be green under this light only.

    Here is where you can find this info: Univeristy of Massachusetts Amherst:Course Homepage:Template
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    #18

    Jul 12, 2013, 06:45 PM
    In my opinion:

    "What ways could a plant possibly adapt in that environment?"

    A plant probably can't adapt easily, if it can. That's why it's hard to find life on any planet (if plants can adapt than living things other than them can also); the position of the sun and the sun's age (spectrum colors) affect the life on planets.

    Maybe you should use your imagination on this one.

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