About the Greenhouse
In 1987, plans were made to tear down the greenhouse on the roof of the Biological Sciences building and relocate a new facility on the west side of the building. In 1988, the current Biological Sciences greenhouse opened its doors.
Today, the 14-room facility houses the research projects of staff and graduate students as well as teaching materials for the various plant-related classes offered by the department.
The greenhouse itself is mostly a glass structure with an aluminum frame. Two east-to-west rows of rooms open out onto a central hallway with ridge vents. Fans in each room pull in air from this central hallway, through water soaked pads, to cool the rooms via evaporative cooling. Vertical unit heaters use steam to heat the greenhouse. Thermostats in each room control the temperature to each researcher's specifications.
The water pumped through all the hoses and the automatic irrigation system in the greenhouse is reverse osmosis (R/O) water, which prevents the ill effects the plants could suffer from the city water high in salts. Once a week, all the plants are fed when fertilizer is injected into the water system. The plants are monitored for pests on a weekly basis and treated as needed.
More than half of the greenhouse space is devoted to research endeavors. Cotton is the main focus. Currently, six researchers, their post-doctoral associates, and their graduate students make use of this facility. Among them are physiologists, geneticists, and a taxonomist.
The rest of the greenhouse space is devoted to teaching. The introductory botany and plant physiology classes use various materials grown for them for their laboratory sections. Plant taxonomy and plant morphology classes use the existing collection of tropical and garden-variety plants to study their characteristics.
Two conservatory rooms contain various tropical specimens, many of which are grown from seed. An intermittent mist system gives these rooms the feel of a tropical rainforest. Some of the highlight plants include Banana (Musa sp.), Coffee, various palms, ferns, and orchids.