June 2011 Archives

Attached is the "weather-tested" search protocol. While my partner found more than a dozen out of 75 or so, I found two out of 100. Maybe I am not the right person to write a protocol about finding these plants.?!

It is very neat to think about these things being seedlings a year or two ago and now they are 20+ cm tall? plants that will produce seed.......sometime.
Hesperostipa spartea Search Protocol.docx

This is the 3rd summer in a row that I have taken part of the Echinacea project! I teach 9-12 sciences (10th grade Biology)at Great Plains Lutheran High in Watertown, SD. Conducting summer research is the best way to incorporate real science into my classroom! While I was a pollen collector and image maker the first summer and a pollen crosser last summer; this summer I am going to collect insects that may or may not be moving pollen. Following the floral neighborhood study of 2009, I will collect and categorize insects from different sites to make an inventory of insect life. I hope it will shed some light on exactly which insects can be found and relate it to the diversity of the plants at sites. It will also be a useful collection for my students in the future.

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Here's a link to a useful, online statistics textbook.


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Today Josh, Gretel, Nicholas, and I found lots of E. purpurea (eastern purple coneflower), plenty for me to study as part of my independent project! We did not find much E. pallida (pale purple coneflower) though, so I unfortunately won't get to study that species this summer.

Here's an updated version of my project proposal for studying the breeding systems of E. purpurea, H. helianthoides, and C. palmata:


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Here is a more detailed project proposal. This one focuses on what I want to accomplish this summer:


Please let me know if the link doesn't work.

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We have all been busy updating our project proposals. At the end of this post my updated proposal is attached.

Soon we will go out and try again to assess if their is enough Echinacea pallida for me to do crosses between it and Echinacea angustifolia. Until then, my proposal still includes both a Plan A and Plan B.

Echinacea Project Proposal 26 Jun2011.docx

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This week was much less strenuous than the last, thanks to a bout of rainy weather. Monday we took advantage of a dry day to conduct seedling searches and re-flag the common garden. Tuesday and Wednesday were too soggy for field work, so we stayed inside to work on independent projects and the new media initiative. Things finally dried up by Thursday afternoon, much to the relief of the antsier among us. That afternoon we learned how to conduct seedling recruitment surveys. These surveys are part of a long-term study to assess how Echinacea populations establish and persist in restorations (see Wagenius et al. 2011). Friday we conducted seedling searches at several sites (Landfill, NW of Townhall, and Staffanson Prairie Reserve) and planted seedlings at Staffanson.

That about brings us up to date, workwise. On Saturday we took a trip to Alexandria and enjoyed the wonders of the Runestone Museum. Callin took some delightful photos that he will share here shortly.

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This is a proposal to a compatibility experiment in the remnants.

Proposal for summer research--2nd Draft--cswitzer.docx

This is the 2nd Draft. Now featuring compatibility vs. isolation.

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Hey everyone, I'm Maria, making my first appearance on the flog. I'm from Malaysia, currently a sophomore/rising junior at Northwestern. Sorry for the late first post as I've been unable to get onto the flog until yesterday :)

I'm now sitting beside Amy Dykstra out on the porch of Hjellm house enjoying the scenery while freezing in the cold. We have not been able to go out to do field work since Tuesday afternoon(?) due to wet weather, but we're going to go out and plant the remaining <20 seedlings at Staffanson after lunch and perhaps seedling searches. Hope that the ground dries up!

Anyway, here's the link to the googledoc of my summer project proposal. I'm constantly updating it/working on it so it seems most practical to share it as a googledoc. Any input will be highly appreciated :D Hope that everyone will be able to assess the link. Let me know if the link is not working! Thanks!

*Update June 24: The googledoc link is updated. Everyone should be able to assess it now :)

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This afternoon, Amber E. and I (others joined in later) started organizing the data sheets from the seedling searches we have completed so far this season. We are sorting the new maps and other data sheets for each site by focal plant number, and adding the new pages to the end of each site's notebook. As we organize data sheets for each site, we are also reconciling the maps with the master data sheet for each site.

The data we have recorded on the frame data sheets will need to be entered into a spreadsheet, so that we can use the measurements to generate maps and distance matrices for those focal plants.

Here's an Excel file we can use to do the data entry. For each frame data sheet, 2 people should enter the data. The first person will enter data in the DE_1 worksheet, and the second person will enter data in the DE_2 worksheet. The check columns in DE_1 will then allow us to check for data entry errors. The file should be saved as "slingDataEntry2011Page[page number]".

I'll put together a master list with all the frame data sheet page numbers. The frame data sheets will be in the seedling notebooks. People will enter their initials when they have completed data entry for a page number.

Let me know if you have suggestions to make the data entry work better.

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My independent project will be about the breeding systems of three plant species: H. helianthoides, C. palmata, and E. pallida. I will do pollen crosses to see whether the styles of these species' florets shrivel when successfully pollinated (the way styles do in E. angustifolia florets). I will also try to determine whether these species are self-incompatible. Here's a draft of my proposal:

Project Proposal Draft.doc

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The new website proposal can be found on a google doc page.

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Proposal for Facebook section of New Media Initiative.docx

Here is a proposal for a Facebook page by Callin and Amber. I think we need a logo for the Echinacea Project.

It would also be cool to put a "like box" on the website and on the flog, so people can automatically become fans of The Echinacea Project without finding it on Facebook.

I found an idea for how to do this at this site:

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We went out to Hegg Lake for a plant-seeing adventure on Wednesday. Click the pictures to embiggen.

First of is some Onosmodium, a marbleseed.

A garter snake. Stuart knew the latin name but my memory isn't that good.

Thistles can be pretty!

Penstemon grandiflorus, what are you doing here? You're not native to this area!

Spiderwort, a Tradescantia. A nice find.

Dichanthelium is in flower! There's quite a bit of it this year.

Polygala senega was on top of a hill.

Death camas (Zigadenus). Watch out.

Sisyrinchium. These are blue, unlike the white ones I've seen at Staffanson

Deer flies. These suckers hurt when they bite.

Stipa is in flower! You can see the parts pretty clearly here.

Interestingly, the diaspore is pretty much fully formed by the time pollination is happening. This makes sense, as it's all maternal tissues apart from the seed itself. You can see it on Greg's hand.

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Hi everyone!
Another aspect of the New Media Initiative for Summer 2011 involves thinking about how the Flog fits in with the other forms of media we'll be using (Facebook, Twitter, the website), and whether there are changes that would make the Flog more useful to readers. Here is our proposal (Written by Maria, Greg, and I):

New Media Initiative - Flog.doc

*We would like to give credit to Nicholas for some of the formatting and headings, which we copied :)

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I was nervous when I entered the idyllic enclave of Kensington, MN. Here I was, after five days of driving from San Francisco, launching myself into a new place with new people, without knowing what to expect. I'm pleased to say that I am happy with my decision to join team Echinacea. On Monday, June 12th we began planting seedlings in Staffanson prairie reserve. This was part of a study on how burning plots affects the next generation of plants. Amazingly, we managed to finish the entire plot on Tuesday, thanks to the efficient cooperation of eleven people. Wednesday was too rainy for field work, so we spent the morning cleaning up and organizing our materials. After lunch we took a field trip to visit various sites and explore the flora therein (Josh snapped some wonderful pictures and will post them here soon). Over Thursday and Friday we completed seedling searches in three remnants: RI, KJ, and NESS. At each site we flagged a subset of Echinacea plants and pairs of team members searched for seedlings around each plant, mapping their results so we can find them again in the future.
This week has also brought a lot of discussion. Prominent items on the agenda were chores (someone has to keep the field station clean), summer research projects, and our new media initiative. In addition to helping out with ongoing field projects, each member of the team must tackle a research question--working in groups or individually, depending on their preferences. Project proposals should appear on the flog over the next few days. I'm excited to see what people come up with. We talked at length about how we can use various media sources (the flog, the website, facebook, Twitter) to enhance communication within the Echinacea Project and with a wider community. I never thought a field biology internship would include making a Twitter account, but now I'm convinced it's a good idea. Check the flog for our plans and ideas.
Lastly, and most importantly, this weekend marks Kensington's annual celebration of Runestone Day, which means Viking shiploads of small town fun. Last night we saw a fireworks show paired with a lightning storm (I'm not sure which was more impressive) and this morning several of us ran in the Kensington Runestone 5K. Stay tuned for pictures.



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We are hard at work preparing various proposals. One aspect we are wanting to work on include our digital presences. We have thus created our New Media Initiatives.

This is our proposal for how the Echinacea Project might utilize Twitter.

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Hey, it's Josh again (I'm back! I'll have a reintroduction post soon). We've had quite the productive week while Stuart was back in Chicagoland. With the help of awesome folks like Nicholas, Amber, and Callin, my garden is all dug up, weeded, planted, and watered. Now we wait (and water).

We also took care of the seedling searches at EELR, NWLf, and NNWLf, not to mention extending the lines of the Staffanson common garden to 100m and marking them.

Hey look, some planting!

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