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Discussion Questions

This page contains resource questions and discussion points designed to further conversation on the subject of plant growth optimisation.

A Review of Plant Growth and Plant Responses to the Environment

Use your knowledge of biology and the information presented in these resources to discuss the following questions:


1. Photosynthesis is the process by which light energy is transformed into chemical energy.  Review the photosynthesis equation and identify the limiting factors in this equation. 


2. Plant growth responds to environmental stimuli such as gravity, chemicals and light. Define the term tropism and list a range of positive and negative tropic responses that are common in plant growth, identifying adaptive advantages for these responses. 


3. Plant growth is affected by genetic factors, environmental factors and hormones. Review the five key plant hormones and their roles in plant growth. A simple star chart would be a good way to present this. 


Figure 1: World Population 2018 © Copyright 2018 Worldmapper -
Figure 2: World Population 2050 © Copyright 2018 Worldmapper -


4. Using the maps above and the data presented by Global Footprint Network in their total biocapacity map (click the link and navigate to “total biocapacity” to view), answer the following questions:


a) Compare the 2018 population map with the 2050 population map above. Which parts of the world will face the greatest challenge over the next 50 years?


b) New Zealand has a relatively large biocapacity compared to many other countries.  What ethical implications (if any) does this have for New Zealand as a nation. 


c) Compare the Global Footprint Network total biocapacity map with the 2050 population map above. What challenges does this comparison present to the world? What role does science have in meeting some of these challenges?  


Important Vocabulary: Test Yourself

Abscisic acid Activator Auxin
Biocapacity Cell cycle Cell differentiation
Cell division Cell elongation Cell expansion
Cyclins Cytokinin Down-regulation
Ethylene Gene expression Gibberelin
Hormone receptor complex Indole 3 - Acetic acid (IAA) Nastic response
Over expression Photosynthesis Plant hormones
Polymerase chain reaction Repression (of a gene) Repressor
Scanning electron microscopy Taxis Transgenic plant