First week, seedling search procedures, and project proposal

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My name is Allegra Halverson and I am from New Hampshire. I am an undergraduate student in Botanical Science at McGill University in Montreal, and a recent addition to Team Echinacea. Lots of things happened this week, so here are a few highlights:

We moved into the old town hall and I've been loving the bike ride to the farm in the mornings so everyone with access to a bike should bring it!

I saw a garter snake, two frogs, two deer, ground squirrels, a wild turkey and lots of birds.

Gretel and I selfed Megan J's prairie turnip plants at the landfill site on Wednesday. We also helped Andrea put out flags and fungal traps in the CG for her mycorrhizae project.

I started my plant collection at the landfill and common garden with 15 plants so far. I have to make a plant collection for a class next winter and will also make one for the Echinacea project at the same time to help future newbies with plant identification.

During this first week we received a lot of background information on the project and began the planning stages of our own projects related to the larger questions about Echinacea in the fragmented prairie habitat. Several projects surrounding the question of competition for pollinators were chosen along with pollen identification projects and one project about the aphids. My project will focus on how inter-specific pollen landing on Echinacea flowers effects style persistence. pollen competition proposal.doc

We developed a new key for the labeling seedling search maps:
-each plant in the circle has a dot with line drawn to the center and the distance (cm) to the focal plant written on the line

s with a circle around it: a seedling
B with a circle around it: a basal plant, not flowering
* with a circle around it: a flowering plant, should have a metal tag like this 7819.2 (.2 is the number of flowering heads)
N with a circle around it: a nail with a metal tag on it

any plot with a plant found in it, other than the focal plant, had a map made for it.
any plot with a seedling found in it was photographed and a pencil marker with a letter (for basal or seedlings) or number (for numbered plants) was placed 2 cm west of all plants
a toothpick was placed 5 cm from the seedling towards the focal plant

am i missing anything?

1 Comment

Allegra, I read your proposal with interest. I think it is focused and clear.

Here are a few questions and comments ...

For the pollen precedence experiment, you could make batches of pollen that you can use for treatments on all plants. Why only 2 Echinacea pollen donors?

I suspect daily observations of style persistence will be sufficient. If styles don't shrivel after the foreign pollen treatments, you might consider adding Echinacea pollen.

Instead of only doing foreign pollen treatments with single species, how about mixtures of multiple species of foreign pollen?

After reading the section on the "mixed load experiment" I thought the essential difference in the two experiments is when the Echinacea pollen arrives (after foreign pollen or at the same time). You might consider designing these experiments as one experiment with Echinacea pollen arrival time as an additional factor.

It's looking good! You have good questions and your experiment should be able to answer your questions. Great project!

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