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Light Independent Reactions

This tutorial examines the biochemical pathway of carbon fixation by the enzyme RuBisCO, as well as modifications of this fixation. Since RuBisCO can fix oxygen as well, we have a process called photorespiration occuring. The most common comment is that it is wasteful, but a deeper look into plant physiology shows that there are some real benefits to it. Plants get the carbon dioxide they need for the Calvin Cycle from the air - which means they need to open their stomata. Plants in water stressed environments have evolved remarkable ways on continuing to fix carbon while reducing water loss through transpiration: C4 and CAM photosynthesis.

Source: M. O'Mahony, open source images, other references at the end of the slides.

References for Photorespiration

References to update information on the advantages of photorespiration in C3 plants.


Source: as on slide

Student Notes Template

Notes Template for the Students that complements the screencast for this lesson.


Source: M. O'Mahony

Tutorial: Photorespiration, C4 and CAM

This tutorial explores modifications of the Calvin cycle:
-photorespiration where carbon dioxide is lost through oxygen binding with RuBisco,
-C4 and CAM photosynthesis where molecular modifications enhance carbon
dioxide fixation and reduce water loss.

The questions found in the Workbook are excellent and it is highly recommended that you work through these!

Source: Viten (Norweigan Centre for Science Education)

Photosynthesis Tutorial

You worked through the first 3 "scenes" of this animation in the previous tutorial.

The 4th scene is on the Calvin Cycle.  This is followed by a clear summary of the big picture of photosynthesis.

Source: MdGraw - Hill online

Animation of the Calvin Cycle

This animation explains the Calvin Cycle using three phases - as you will be learning in class.


Source: Smith, Bio231 course

Nature's smallest factory: The Calvin cycle

Here is a really nice - and clear - summary of the Calvin Cycle:

Source: Ted-Ed Cathy Symington

The Calvin Cycle Game

A reminder that you need an account on Spongelab to access the resources.  It is free to set up an account.

Search:  Calvin Cycle, then look under "Games and Simulations".

Have  fun!

Source: Spongelab


Rubisco was the molecule of the month for November 2000 in the RCSB Protein Data Bank.


Source: David Goodsell & RCSB Protein Data Bank

Melvin Calvin - Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1961

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1961

Melvin Calvin

Prize share: 1/1

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1961 was awarded to Melvin Calvin"for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants".

Source: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1961". Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 14 Nov 2014.

Tracing the Pathway of Carbon Dioxide

This animation (option of narration) overviews the Calvin-Benson Cycle and its link to the Light Reactions of Photosynthesis.  Then, it explains how, starting in the mid-1940's, the researchers used 14C to work out the sequence of the compounds of the cycle.

Source: WH Freeman online

C4 Photosynthesis

Source: Spongelab

Bill Nye: The Discovery of Photosynthesis

This video demonstrates how the concept of photosynthesis was discovered.

Source: Discovery Channel, YouTube