Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate


Sterling A. Taylor


This era has been termed the atomic or space age. The greatest concern of most people seems to be centered around survival from the destruction and suffering that might be caused by atomic and nuclear weapons. However, along with this, the world is confronted with perhaps a greater disaster--a potential calamity seldom realized by most people, yet a problem which grows more serious in the world each year--a tragedy which would probably be worse than destruction from nuclear weapons. This encroaching catastrophe is starvation.

Even today the majority of the people in the world do not have enough food. Each year the acreage of fertile, productive land decreases because of expanding populations, misuse and the extinsive cropping of many years. As time proceeds, agriculturalists will be required to produce more food with less land resources. Undoubtedly, agricultural scientists will be confronted with greater challenges. Many of these problems will require extensive "basic" research. Now, while food in America is plentiful, seems the proper time to perform this basic research and prepare for the challenges that are going to come.

Since much of the world land area is semi-arid, the limiting factor in food production is water. There is an urgent need to use irrigation water more efficiently. In order to do this, more basic information concerning water-growth relations in the soil-plant-atmosphere system is needed. Water movement in the plant element of the system is perhaps the least understood. This classical problem has been extensively studied, yet many important problems still exist. The knowledge in many areas is a scarce and contradictory. Basic research and investigation must be continued.

this investigation was a plant-water relations study with the purpose of obtaining basic knowledge about the processes and phenomena involved in water transport through plants. The location and magnitude of the resistance to water flow in plants and the effect of temperature on water movement in plant tissue were the two aspects of water flow investigated. Other more minor subjects of study included: (a) water transport and the effect of mechanical suction, and (b) the correlation of water movement in plants with various measurements of plant response.