Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert light energy to chemical energy, helping sustain life in the biosphere. There are many factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis such as atmospheric CO2 concentration, temperature, and sunlight. In this experiment, we attempt to determine what effect, if any, the mechanical strength of a plant has on its rate of photosynthesis. To perform this experiment we used both the LI-COR 6400 and the Instron Mechanical Testing Device. With the LI-COR we measured photosynthetic rate of our plant subjects in real time during the prime photosynthetic hours, 10-12am. The Instron allowed us to determine mechanical strength based on Young’s Modulus. We hypothesized that as mechanical strength increased the rate of photosynthesis. Our stress vs strain graphs and photosynthesis data actually showed no correlation. However, our results did corroborate previous research that proved that the order of mechanical strength of our species from strongest to weakest was: Rhamnus ilicifolia, Rhamnus californica, then Ceanothus Spinosus
van Loon, Aaron; Manes, Brianna; Stucky, Taylor; and Addington, Thomas, "The Relationship Between Leaf Mechanical Strength and Photosynthetic Rates" (2012). Pepperdine University, Featured Research. Paper 45.