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Student Project No. 3
Botany at Victoria Peak

SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School

Team members
Ng Wing Yee (6B)
Yu Choi Ying (6B)
Chan Nga Chi (6B)


Introduction
In this project, we would like to focus on two groups of plants, lichens and ferns.

Lichens
In the field study, we saw numerous lichens.
Here are some photos we took.
-Lichen on rock surface
-Lichen on rock surface


Lichens
Lichens are composed of a mutual symbiotic association of a fungus and a green alga or a cyanobacterium.
The fungus provides moisture, mineral salts, and strong attachment to the substratum, while the alga or cyanobacterium provides food produced through photosynthesis.
This unique partnership permits the lichen to grow even on bare rock.


Air Pollution Indicator
Lichens are highly sensitive to air pollutants, such as SO2. Air pollutants can penetrate into lichen thallus. Thus, lichens disappear in areas with bad air quality. Lichens are seldomly found in urban areas in Hong Kong. However, air quality on the Peak is good, and large patches of lichens were found there.
That’s why people use lichens as air pollution indicator.

Ferns
Division: Pteridophyta
Ferns have roots, stems and leaves. However, ferns do not have flowers.
In the field study, we found plenty of ferns.
e.g. Selaginella unicinata


Ferns
Ferns commonly grow in shaded areas, such as woodlands, coppices and hedgerows.
In the field study, we found some ferns growing on rock surface. They are relatively small.
Ferns that grow in soil are larger. It is because of the better anchorage and supply of water and nutrients.

Structure of the frond
A frond is a large and compound leaf of fern.
Fronds are circinated when young.
It is a primitive character.


Life cycle of ferns
The life cycle of ferns has two generations, the dominant one being the spore-producing sporophyte.
A spore germinates into a prothallus, which represents the gametophyte generation and is responsible for gamete production.
A prothallus is thin and without cuticle. The female sex organs on it serve as the sites for the fusion of gametes and subsequent development of the embryo sporophytes.
Thus, ferns have to live in moist areas in order to facilitate the fusion of gametes.

We hereby give grateful thanks to
Ms. H.Y. Yeung (CUHK)
Ms. Hilary Lam (CUHK)
for a wonderful field trip!


References
Wallace, R.A., King, J.L., Sanders, G.P. 1988. Bioshpere: the Realm of Life. US: HarperCollins Publishers.

 

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