Thursday was a cool, beautiful day in Kensington. Our main task this week has been to finish up the first round of demography at all of the remnant prairies. Today Stuart, Gretel, Shona, and I went out to work on some of the smaller remnants (usually <10 flowering plants). Demography is a great way to allow us to keep track of plants over time and monitor the flowering patterns of both individuals and populations.
Katherine and Maria started on Katherine's last round of ant and aphid surveys in the remnants today. It seems like the peak of aphid season has come and gone, but this last survey should help her determine the rate of decline of aphid populations (and maybe provide hints as to where they all go in the winter!).
After a few mishaps with regard to seedling re-finds (the process of re-finding the seedlings, or "slings", that have been discovered during Amy's seedling search experiment), I decided to write a haiku to best express our emotions:
Basals, slings, all on visor?
No one really knows.
Thankfully, Amy and Stuart came through to save the day and we now have a much more firm grasp of our mission. In short:
Slings are important
Basals only if they're near
Gotta find the slings.
Here's a picture of a seedling that we found earlier this summer. Take a look at the two green cotyledons at the base of the plant. Cotyledons only appear in a plants first year of growing and are the only way to be sure that a plant is a seedling instead of just a small basal.