Saturday brought a resurgence of the "not-so-bad" weather we've been enjoying this week. Several rainstorms have brought some much needed moisture to the soil. The reason I mention this is that while I worked on my aphid addition/exclusion experiment, I noticed a lot of dirt mounds on plants where aphids were present. Presumably, ants build these structures to cultivate aphids. Some of these were small, consisting of only a few small pieces, and some were large, taking up a large portion of a leaf. Here's one of the smaller examples. The opposite side of the leaf was covered in aphids.
Here's a picture of one of the plants in my aphid addition group. As you can see, the ants are taking full advantage of the situation:
As for other field work, Kelly spent the morning checking the status of flowers for her phenology study. Most of the remnants have stopped flowering, with the exception of one plant at a small remnant and many at the Staffanson prairie preserve. Because the west half of Staffanson was burned in May, Echinacea began blooming later than in the unburned half.
In the evening, we all gathered at the Wagenius family home for potluck dinner and bonfire. I should say bonfires, since there were two right next to each other. Pyromanic desires were fulfilled by all.