June 2010 Archives

Here's a document that outlines a proposed visor form for the census of Caroline's Next Generation Rescue experiment.
Proposed protocol for Next Gen Rescue census 2010.docx

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Ok, you have to enlarge this photo.

Climaciella brunnea: the Wasp Mantidfly is really neither of those things (well, it's a mantidfly, but you know what I mean). It's not a wasp (order Hymenoptera, includes bees and ants, too) nor is it a mantis (order Mantodea, pretty much just mantids). It's actually more related to lacewings and antlions (order Neuroptera).

Doesn't it just look strange?

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June 21, 2010 marked the start of Echinacea flowering in the common garden this year. As of June 28, 2010 113 plants had started producing pollen. Approximately 775 plants will flower this season with a total of 1062 heads. We will be busy keeping track of the first and last day of pollen production per plant. As you can see from the pictures above, the pollinators are back at work, too!

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My project seems to be going well, I now have all of the sites picked out and data recorded for them. I have now seen all four of my plants in bloom at least at one of the sites. Here are a few pics I was able to capture of some of them.



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So the weekend is upon us, summer is already beginning to slip away, and aphid abundance is on the rise.

Mine and Lauren's aphid specialization experiment is still being tweaked to perfection. We set up 5 preliminary aphid transfers on B genotype plants (the offspring of between site echinacea crosses) in order to practice appropriate aphid transfer methods and make sure that we can get aphid establishment on plants that we know aphids are found on (aka to ensure that our transfer methods do not result in aphid squashing and death). This proved perhaps more difficult than expected. I single-handedly destroyed the greater part of several aphid colonies before determining that trying to remove aphids from their leafy homes with a tooth pick was just not going to work. Eventually I settled on disturbing the leaf/gently poking at one aphid (which, it turns out, causes some species of aphid to release an alarm pheromone so all the other aphids on the leaf stop sucking phloem, withdraw their stylets and start moving around). Apparently many Aphis species do not have this alarm pheromone, but when I starting messing with the aphids/the aphids' leaf they started running around in frantic disarray, so whether or not they release a pheromone, poking them seems to work. After instigating a mass aphid exodus, I attempted to herd several confused individuals onto the flat side of a twist tie. This was also more difficult than you might expect it to be, and was rather time consuming. When we set up our actual experiment we will knock the disturbed aphids into a petri dish, which will be a much more efficient method and will probably result in a significantly less aphid mortality.

We had initially planned on using a single alate (winged) aphid as our population founder, because these are the individuals that would colonize new plants. However, this particular aphid morphology is not nearly as common as the apterous aphids (lacking wings). After conferring with Dave Andow, an entomologist from the U of M, we determined that using apterous aphids is fine, as we are testing plant suitability rather than aphid preference (ie CAN aphids colonize a certain plant, not which plant would a aphid PREFER. And anyway, preference will probably manifest itself somewhat in the form of population success and growth rate). We also discussed the important question of one founder aphid or two. If we can have lots of replicates we could have only one founder. If we are worried about aphid success rate and have fewer replicates, Dave suggested that we have two founders and just record whether one or both birth their aphid babies within the first one or two days of the experiment. Dear readers: Comments or suggestions about aphid founders are encouraged!

One problem: whatever sort of aphid we use, we need to introduce gravid ones to our plants or there will be no population growth whatsoever and our experiment will fail epically. Thus it is now necessary for Lauren and I to be able to identify gravid aphids. Hmm. Apparently this is possible, and this is something we are going to have to figure out before our actual experiment can start. Again: comments or suggestion are encouraged!

I think that covers most of the updates in the glorious and exciting world of me, Lauren, and aphids.

Over and out!

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View image

So these are the Stipa that have been collected so far. I've labeled a couple of the places on the map.

I was having trouble projecting the data exported from GPS Pathfinder Office (trimble) and noticed that no coordinate system was defined (same issue with the DOQ maps Stuart gave me; the GeoTIFFs didn't have a spatial definition). The GPS data should be North American 1983 in the Geographic Coordinate System folder (right click on the data in ArcCatalog, hit the XY Coordinate System tab and hit the Select button). The DOQ maps ought to be using the NAD_1983_UTM_Zone_15N from the Projected Coordinate System folder. Dumping all of these files into ArcMap (and a little fiddling) gave me this nice map.

Next plan of attack is to make it work in GPS Pathfinder Office, as it's much less complicated than ArcGIS.

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Here's the schedule of events for Barrett's Old Settlers' Reunion.

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Here's a list of plant species that flowered within 2m of a flowering Echinacea plant that we observed last year. The list is sorted by the count of inflorescences we counted. Species in the Asteraceae are highlighted.

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Here are the locations of E. strigosus plants in the common garden:
32 953, 33 954, 38 960
Plants have just started to flower!

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Here's a picture of a Stipa seedling in the Common Garden. I'm about to create a form for entering data on our seedlings. We are debating if we should count and measure each leaf or count leaves and measure the length of just the longest leaf. Most of our time will be spent finding the plants and/or the toothpicks that we put in to mark them. So, taking the measurements of each leaf shouldn't add that much time. Any thoughts?

Stuart and I did an initial investigation of about 30 locations where Stipa was planted. We found plants at 40-50% of the locations! Caroline, what was your estimate for germination of these seeds?


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Josh, Gretel, Hillary, and Ian are also trained on the TopScan to collect the GPS data. The ideal is that the radio signal is at 100% and the designation of the location is described as Fixed - (Float will do and Auto works if you are unable to connect to a radio signal)
Josh and I plan to collect from Hegg Lake and the road adjacent on Monday. In the quest to collect from 300 parent plants, we are likely onto roadsides - where we are trying to stay at least a meter off the road and using plants about 5m apart from each other. Generally, as the black color appears and as the capsule opens around the pointy head, the seeds are ripe and will pop off as you gently pull up the stem containing the seeds.
I plan to be around Sun afternoon and Mon. to finish the collection before starting to cross some plants.

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We're off to a great start this season. We've made good progress on our ongoing projects and folks are well on their way with their independent projects. We had better keep moving because the earliest plant in the Common Garden started flowering on the 21st!

Here's a list of independent projects for Summer 2010:

  • Laura: Phenology of midsummer prairie plants
  • Josh: Movement of Stipa spartea seeds
  • Lauren & Hillary: Performance of aphids on Echinacea and other plants
  • Katie: Efficiency of common Echincaea pollinators
  • Ian: Flowering phenology and mating compatibility
  • Greg: Breeding systems in the Asteraceae
  • Gretel: Reciprocal pollen interference between Heliopsis and Echinacea

I attached a pdf file of our ongoing projects.

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Exciting news! Amy and Hillary found some seedlings at a Hegg Lake plot, the one thats on a hill (the hill with all the phlox on the side) near that blind corner. Anyway, there were nearby flowering plants so its great their reproducing! There were also a couple seedlings found outside the frisbee sized circle area.

here are the pics:

staffanson and recruitment (44).JPG

This one is a close up of the shriveled cots (with an achene next to it), can you see it!?!
staffansen and recruitment (45).JPG

The seedling finders, working hard!
staffansen and recruitment (47).JPG

This was in the morning, getting ready for work:
staffansen and recruitment (4).JPG

This is just a prairie lilly (Lilium philadelphicum) that I spotted at Staffenson. First time ever seeing one and I think their beautiful!
staffansen and recruitment (22).JPG

Lastly, this is a reminder for me to show Stuart my preliminary data collection sheet:
data table for project.pdf



Broken up from the previous entry so as to not make things too messy in the Stipa category.

Carduus out at KJ's

Some critter snipped the stalk and laid some eggs, looks like.


This sad-looking Echinacea was out at NW of Landfill, along with other bent over and crummy-looking Carduus and others. The grasses and legumes around it looked pretty OK, so I'm wondering if perhaps these were hit by some herbicide overspray earlier in the season before the grasses grew up around it.

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Stipa collection is going pretty well, aside from the Topcon being flaky and not connecting to the data network for improved accuracy (it should be good enough for refinding tags along with the metal detector). We've collected from 85 out of the desired 300 so far, with different averages of seeds collected depending on the site. Landfill and Staffenson both had rather high averages, somewhere around 9 or 10 (no math here, just guessing based on what I was entering in the data fields) while some of the scattered remnants were closer to 5 or 6.

As for today, I'll be out with someone to go search at other sites, hopefully, but the weather is looking a bit questionable today. We'll see!

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Here's a list of plants that are available for Katie to use in inb1:
I made this list with this script :plantsForKatieKoch.r

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Well, I was the last to arrive this summer, same as last summer. With the help of my lovely parents I was able to pack all of my plug trays (18) into my 2007 New Beetle. I have attached pictures of this amazing feet.

After a 9hr drive, I arrived in Kensington and finally met the rest of the group. We have a great team this summer, so that makes everything better.

Unlike last summer, I got to enjoy Runestone days in Kensington this year, which was very fun. We watched the parade, and I think it was the longest parade I've ever witnessed, which is ironic because Kensington is the smallest town I've ever lived in for any period of time. I think other floggers will be posting parade pictures, but I would just like to note that the giant Norse ship with the mini-vikings inside (i.e. kids dressed as vikings, shiny swords and all) was my favorite part.

Anyway, today is Monday, so back to the grindstone. To do:
1) Seed sorting. (I know the many CBG volunteers are helping to sort seeds for me back in Chicago. I will be doing my share here in the evenings.)
2) Measuring plants. Hopefully I can find a partner or two to work on this with me.
3) Organize my planting locations and get them ready to go.

Other work:
4) FNC ordination (still working on this)
5) Work on style persistence data
6) Call Amanda and chat about the "little aster" issue...

Well that should keep me busy. Attached are some pictures and last years Cookbook.

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We had a pretty eventful weekend with the Runestone festival going on in K-town! We checked it out Friday night and saw fireworks, had a pancake breakfast Sat morning (all except Ian), talked to the locals, and had fun sniffing candles at the crafts fair. Then on Sunday we watched the parade and biked to the lake in Hoffman!

parade and lake (5).JPG

parade and lake (16).JPG


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This afternoon I spent some time with Terrasync, getting a data dictionary together for Hesperostipa seed collection. What does this mean?

This means I can take the GPS out, throw down a tag, collect some seed, then, while taking GPS points, put the various bits of information about the seed that I want directly into the Trimble. Geospatially referenced data with little effort!

Making sure that the GPS Pathfinder Office's transfer utility is pointed at the right device (GPS Logger on Windows CE, in this case), you click "Send", "Add" a data dictionary and browse to the file and Transfer All. You did create your data dictionary, right? No?

Well, take a step back and click on Data Dictionary Editor in the Utilities menu. From here, it's pretty straightforward to create your very own data dictionary. Add the Features you want (features being the kinds of points you want. I added one for Stipa individual). From there, you add Attributes. These are the fields you want to take data on: whatever would be on your paper data sheet. Annoyingly, text fields are limited to a mere 100 characters, so keep that in mind for your comments fields (always have one; you never know!). Useful ones for me were Numeric (tip! if you want to widen the number entry field from the measly default of 2 characters wide, put some large number as your maximum value; you won't be able to go above that, but that's not a problem for my tag and envelope number fields. Certainly nothing will be above 1000000), Text, and Date. After getting your dictionary squared away, save it somewhere and transfer it to the Trimble.

At this point you should take the new data dictionary for a test run. Restart the Terrasync software on the Trimble and start anew. Create a new file and start taking a point. See if the dictionary suits your needs. If not, go back, fix your dictionary and retransfer, overwriting the old one. Now you're collecting with style!

For the collection dictionary, I selected the following fields:
Tag Number (text)
Envelope Number (text)
# Seeds Collected (numeric)
Location (text)
Notes (text)
Notes2 (text; text is limited to 100 characters which may not be quite enough)
Current Date (date; autogenerated)
Collected By (text)

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Im Ian Holmen, a new REU student on the Echinacea project this year. I arrived in K-town not over a week ago after just finishing up my sophomore year at Carleton College. I recently declared myself as a biology major (a tough call between Spanish, economics, chemistry, anthropology and all those other thought invoking studies), and am hoping to absorb as much as possible from this summer experience. I have just finished up a preliminary proposal for some independent research that I hope to carry out throughout the summer. The proposal is in need of some tweaking so if anyone has some suggestions please let me know. Otherwise, stay tuned for a updated (hopefully improved) proposal in the future.

Project Proposal (rough draft).pdf

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Hi I'm Lauren Hobbs. I am from a town in Wisconsin almost as small as K-town (aka Williams Bay). I attend UVA and am a psych major. Hence I am learning a lot already!! Fortunately, I found a friend here to work with!

Hi! My name is Hillary Lyons and I am from Olympia, WA. I am a biology major from Carleton College. I really like muskoxen.


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I'm back! You may have noticed all my photo links are broken... well, that website is dead and I can't edit my old posts. I'll go back through and comment on my posts with pictures with updated links so you can have a clue as to what's going on.

I now keep a (nearly) daily photo blog on Blipfoto and will do weekly posts linking all of the photos from that week, along with other photos and posts as necessary.

As for my project this season, I'm interested in looking at the effects of humidity on the awns of Hesperostipa spartea (aka Stipa spartea. thanks, plant geneticists). The current idea is to construct some sort of variable-humidity chamber with a humidity guage readable by time-lapse photography. I expect this will involve a sealed chamber and a humidifier, dehumidifier, and some way to control them powering on and off. The seeds will be in the chamber, digging through artificial duff or maybe just looking at how the awns curl.

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Hi, I realized that not everyone will be able to open the file i saved my proposal in so here it in in a PDF format. phenology proposal.pdf

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I realized not everyone can access a .docx file, so here is a PDF file link...

revised proposal.pdf

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Hello fellow floggers!

This is my first flog, so i'll introduce myself.
My name is Laura and I currently go to school at Florida International University. I'm going to be senior in the fall and I'm majoring in Environmental Studies.
I have choose to do my independent study on determining the phenology of co-flowering plants whos pollen has been previously shown to interfere with Echinacea. I want to see if these plant's phenologys overlap enough to potentially get enough of their pollen on Echinacea. Below is a link to my proposal. Also there is a great link to a list of indices in plant reproductive ecology that I came across while doing some research on the web.

If you have any questions or suggestions about my proposal please don't hesitate to ask/tell.

proposal E.A.docx

Phenology indices.pdf

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Hello everyone!
For those of you who aren't familiar with me, I'm Katie. I attend Lakeland College in WI. I'm going to be a Junior this year majoring in Biology, and I'm excited to be writing my first FLOG entry :)

Here is a file link to my outline of the research I will be doing this summer! If you have any questions or possible additions to the experiment, do not hesitate to comment!

revised proposal.docx

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Hi all,
I have finally figured out how to connect to the printer via the wireless network on a PC. To make sure your computer will be able to access the printer on the network you must do the following:

1) Install the drivers for the LaserJet 2300L. I used the PCL6 driver and it seemed to work fine.
2) Once you have the drivers installed, go to control panel and click on Add Hardware (you must be connected to the wireless network to do this step).
3) When it asks, select that you have already connected the new hardware.
4) Scroll to the very bottom of the next list that appears to where it says "Add a new hardware device."
5) Then select "Install the hardware that I manually select from a list."
6) Select "Printers."
7) Select "Create a new port" and have it be a standard TCP/IP port.
8) Click "next" until it asks you to enter the printers IP address, which is

The application should now be fairly straightforward. At some point you will be asked it you wish to share the printer, select no. You may also print a test copy to make sure that you are connected to the printer.

Let me know if you have questions.

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Happily I am back in the Kensington Town Hall- all is well.
For the new in the crew - I teach 9-12 science at Great Plains Lutheran High in Watertown, SD. It is just over a 130 miles away. I am on my 2nd summer at Team Echinacea and will be here Mondays and Tuesdays (typically) to help the project and work on my own investigations.

I am amazed at the difference between the stages of growth throughout the several remnants and the SPP (Staffanson Prairie Preserve) this year compared to last. I would venture it is about 2-3 weeks farther along than it was last year at this time. It is different to see SPP without being burned this spring. The Hjelm house is seeing improvements as well.

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