Q:

What are stomata responsible for?

A:

The main responsibilities of stomata, tiny openings on the bottoms of plant leaves, is the intake of carbon dioxide and the release of oxygen. These are necessary for photosynthesis to take place, since this process uses carbon dioxide and produces oxygen as a waste product.

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Stomata are necessary, but they are also a problem for plants because, while they are open to allow gas exchange, water vapor escapes as well. Plants need water for photosynthesis and other biological processes. On hot, dry days, stomata can close to help the plant conserve water. Often stomata open to begin photosynthesis, and begin to close after noon during the hottest part of the day. They also close at night, since no photosynthesis is possible.

Two sausage-shaped guard cells control whether stomata are open or closed. These cells control their shape based on how much water they contain. When very full of water, they curve outward, opening the stomata wide. When they lose water, they begin to straighten and close off the holes. This allows for an automatic response when the leaf as a whole begins dessicating. They are also responsive to carbon dioxide levels, however, and lower levels cause them to fill with water and open the stomata wider.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When are the stomata usually open?

    A:

    Stomata open when there is sunlight. Therefore, stomata are usually open during the day and closed at night. However, according to Darwinian principles, plants that reside in arid environments have developed characteristics that affect the opening and closing of stomata to help withstand water shortage.

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  • Q:

    What causes the stomata to open and close?

    A:

    There are guard cells surrounding each stoma that cause them to open or close throughout the life cycle of the plant. This occurs in response to water and ion concentration in the plant cell, according to Pearson Education.

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  • Q:

    What types of stomata are found in plants?

    A:

    As of 1970, plant stomata have been divided into eight types: actinocytic, anisocytic, anomocytic, cyclocytic, diacytic, hexocytic, paracytic and tetracytic. A typical stomata formation found in the dicotyledons, or flowering plants, is the anisocytic type that is comprised of a stoma surrounded by three cells of different sizes. The stomata are the microscopic pores on the epidermal layers of land plants that enable them to exchange oxygen, a by-product of photosynthesis, for carbon dioxide.

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  • Q:

    How do guard cells regulate the opening and closing of the stomata?

    A:

    A plant's guard cells regulate the opening and closing of the epidermal stomata by expanding or contracting in response to environmental signals. When a pair of guard cells surrounding a stoma receives the signal that the stomatal pore needs to open, the guard cell pair fill with water, changing the cell's shape and opening the pore. An inverse process occurs when the guard cells receive a signal to close the stoma, initiating a loss of water and causing them to shrink and close the pore.

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