May 2009 Archives

We searched for Echinacea seedlings in six prairie remnants last week. We found some! Over 2+ days eight of us found 57 seedlings.

Ruth and Georgiana found 5 seedlings in this circle (41 cm radius) centered on plant 12034 at Steven's approach.

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One of our long-term experiments evaluates the effects of burn treatments on seedling recruitment and survival (see abstract here:http://echinacea.umn.edu/bib/echinacea_abstracts.htm#wagenius_et_shaw_RE). Here are some photos documenting how we prepare plots for burning...

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Figuring out which plots need to be burned.

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Mowing burn breaks.

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Nice job, Brad.

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Successfully burned plots.

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The east half of Hegg Lake WMA was burned by the DNR. For our recruitment plots located within the burned region, we mowed burn breaks around plots we did NOT want to have burned.

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The classic seedling search position.

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Young Echinacea seedling--cotyledons only.

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Larger seedling with a true leaf.

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We marked seedlings with colored toothpicks, so we can re-find them in August, and again next summer. I hope to be able to learn about initial seedling establishment as well as seedling survival through the first two seasons.


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This is my first trip up to Minnesota this year. My goal is to locate populations of the species I want to work on this summer.

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Amy and I have been out at Hegg Lake since Tuesday afternoon, searching low and lower for Echinacea seedlings in my small "next generation genetic rescue" experiment and Amy's crossing and local adaptation experiments. We're finding quite a few seedlings- they're mostly just cotyledons (some amazingly with their little seed coats still attached) and about a quarter have put out their first true, very fuzzy leaf. Without the true leaves, the seedlings can be tricky to tell apart from the seedlings of one or two other species, but we've developed a fairly good search image and are making notes of questionable identifications.
Mode number of seedlings for each "position," that is a batch of 5-40 achenes sown: 0
Maximum seedlings found in a position in my experiment: 12
Maximum seedlings found in a position in Amy's experiment: 10
I'll also brag and mention that today I found the seedling with the longest true leaf so far at 42 mm. Looked to me like the plucky guy was flipping the bird. Ah, Amy and I certainly do succeed at keeping ourselves and each other entertained.
We completed searches for my experiment on Tuesday, made it through the crossing experiment Wednesday and today and plan to finish up with the local adaptation experiment tomorrow. Photos are forthcoming.

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I drove up to Minnesota from Illinois on Monday night, May 4. I felt like I drove backward in time about two weeks. The trees weren't green, the brome wasn't above the thatch, and no warblers were in the yard of the farm. When I left on Friday, it felt like spring had progressed more than a week. Maybe I was just happy I got everything done on the to do list.

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