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So, about the process of the Water Stress Study! Our main priority of this study within the ICL study was to find out the water status of the corn, and to see if it went under drought stress. We collected data in the corn crop check and the corn/soybean treatments within the ICL study. The timeframe was from corn's vegetative growth stages right before tasseling in June all the way to it's denting stage in September. The way we measured the water stress of the corn was with a water status indicator, predawn leaf water potential.
insert plot map and photo/video of fields here
A break down of predawn leaf water potential. Let's start with Predawn. Predawn means before the sun rises early in the morning. Yes, we got up at 4am every morning for this! We chose this important time in a plants water transport system because this is when a plant will have the upmost water stored in a plant without transpiration disturbing the measurement.
Now the second half, leaf water potential. Leaf water potential is the measure of tension, from applied pressure to a leaf, needed in order to drive water through intercellular spaces within a leaf to the surface. To use an analogy of how leaf water potential works, we can compare a plant to the human body. Leaf water potential, in short, is like measuring the blood pressure of a human through its arm at the doctors office. With a plant, you're doing it with a leaf and measuring, not blood, but it's "water" pressure, and instead of a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff), you are using a pressure chamber device to measure it.
Insert photos/video comparing xylem and blood vessels for analogy
Insert Pressure Chamber Photo/video here
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