May 2012 Archives

Hello all! A lot has happened since my last post, so here is a brief update!

After returning to school with my phenology data and experimental seed heads in the fall of 2011, I began work on my senior thesis using that data as a foundation. In April of this year I defended my thesis, "Flowering Phenology and Seed Set in Fragmented Populations of the Prairie Plant Echinacea angustifolia" and was awarded Distinction by my committee! Stuart and I continued to work on my data after my defense and are planning to continue the project and potentially incorporate data from this summer in the hopes of publishing it! Here are some of the very interesting results that we've gotten so far:

> aggregate(ss ~ nndist + pdtime, data = mm, mean)
nndist pdtime ss
1 far early 0.1637403
2 near early 0.2690535
3 far late 0.2947009

4 near late 0.1802392

We found that there's a relationship between seed set (ss), peak flowering date (pdtime), AND distance to the 6th nearest neighbor (nndist). Seed set was higher in plants that had a combination of close 6th nearest neighbor (near) and early peak flowering date or far 6th nearest neighbor (far) and late flowering date. Very interesting!
(table is categorical and matches glm model which looks at pd & nn6 as continuous)

If anyone has any questions, is interested in continuing this exciting project this summer, or would like a copy of my thesis, feel free to contact me! (Amber Zahler at

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If you are heading to ESA, visit Callin Switzer's poster "Inspiring future ESA members in elementary or middle school, using place-based inquiry."

It has been scheduled for:
Contributed Poster Session: Education: Pedagogy
Date: Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Time Slot: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Location: Exhibit Hall DE at the 2012 ESA Annual Meeting, to be held in Portland, Oregon, August 5-10, 2012.

Visit his poster, #35507!

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This is the poster I presented at the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (MEEC) back in March. I analyzed the data Lee Rodman collected in her experiments last summer and added my own observations of Helianthus pauciflorus. Style Persistence appears to be a good measure of pollen limitation in species other than Echinacea. This field season, I will test Style Persistence as a measure of pollen limitation in Helianthus species.

Taira MEEC poster.pdf

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Yesterday, the Mettler Toledo BALNT software was throwing up an error when it was started, preventing weighing.

Exact error message: BALNT.exe has generated errors and will be closed by Windows. You will need to restart the program. An error log is being created.

This seems to be an error with the config file in the C:\Windows or C:\WINNT directory. To fix this, take the zip file in I:\Departments\Research\EchinaceaVolunteers\Balance\ and extract it to the C:\ drive. This should overwrite the Balance-May2012 directory on the C: drive. Take the BALNT.ini file from that directory and copy it to C:\Windows or C:\WINNT, whichever exists. You should be able to start the balance software and begin collecting points.

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What's this in plug 156? A young seedling with fused cotyledons and a true leaf just peeping up. in the nearby corner is a more typical seedling. Both plants come from florets of Echinacea angustifolia that were pollinated with pollen from Echinacea pallida.


Click image to embiggen!

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