Recently in Project Proposals Category

The small town of Kensington received five new adorable puppies last week. After some sleuthing and chatting with the friendly locals, team Echinacea received the chance for some much needed puppy playtime.


But what's more exciting than puppies? Proposals and updated procedures!

Pollinator Efficiency Proposal 2014 .doc

Pollinator Efficiency Procedure.doc


Attached to this post you will find team pollinator's original proposal as well as an updated procedure and an updated datasheet. The past three weeks have flown by and we have already conducted observations on 175 heads! This means that we are only 25 heads short of our goal just in time for the end of flowering. It is also amazing how much we have learned and how much we have had to change our procedure. I hope that someone will pick up this project next summer and this updated information will help them to avoid some of the problems we've encountered.

In other exciting news, tonight I cooked Ratatouille for the team. Thank you Gretel and the Wagenius garden for the delicious basil!


My favorite French dish + my favorite people = the perfect end to a relaxing Sunday.

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Here is the latest draft of my proposal to investigate the survival rates of Aphis echinaceae on Echinacea hybrids and the impact they have on host fitness:


I'm excited to get started. In addition to my main project, I will be conducting and coordinating a variety of side projects related to aphids and Echinacea hybrids:

1. Katherine Muller and Lydia English's aphid addition/exclusion experiment in P1.
2. Assessing fitness of the two Echinacea species and their hybrids in P6 (Josh's Garden) and P7 (at Hegg Lake).
3. Recording flowering phenology of Echinacea pallida at Hegg Lake, where they were planted in a prairie restoration.

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Here is my first draft of my research proposal for this summer!
Echinacea Project Summer Research Proposal.pdf

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Hello all,

This is the first draft of my research proposal regarding fitness and heritability in the offspring from Shona's crosses last summer. I still have a bit more research to complete - in particular, brushing up on quantitative genetics. Nevertheless, I have enough information to go forward, and hope to get a good chunk of my measurements done by next week.



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This summer, REU student Jill Gall put together a large collection of ants from prairie remnants in Minnesota. Yesterday, Stuart and I headed over to Lakeforest College to seek the advice of resident ant ecologist Sean Menke. Jill left us with two boxes of ants, which she pinned and identified to genus and separated into morphotypes:


Sean was impressed with her identification skills: she was correct in nearly every identification to genus and many of her morphotypes were consistent. He gave us some tips on what traits to look for when identifying ants. Now we have a plan for going through the rest of the collection. This will allow us to compare the species diversity of ants among prairie remnants, and hopefully pave the way for future ant research in the lab.


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Pardon the belated appearance of my proposal on the flog, but here it is!
Proposal draft 2.pdf

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This summer I'm going to continue with Amber Z's phenology research from last year. I've added on two new sites: North Northwest of Landfill and Around Landfill. I started taking data on June 18th when there were only a couple of plants beginning to flower, but now, many more plants have started flowering and a couple are even close to finishing!

Kelly's Flowering Phenology Project Proposal.doc

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I don't know if I've properly introduced myself on here.

My name is Katherine Muller and I'm a second year Master's student at Northwestern. I hail from the lovely, temperate San Francisco Bay Area. I'm not sure whether it was my thirst for adventure or my contrarian nature that led me to the Midwest--first to Oberlin College in Ohio, then to Northwestern and Minnesota. In any case, I now have the privilege of complaining about the weather.

This is my second year with the Echinacea Project. Last year I began research on aphids and ants in Echinacea angustifolia. I have two projects that I plan to continue this summer:

My first project is an experiment examining the effects of aphid infestation on Echinacea. Last year, I selected 100 non-flowering Echinacea, excluded aphids from 50 plants and added aphids to the other 50. I am repeating the experiment on the same plants. I performed my first experimental treatments on Saturday and Sunday and should soon be able to analyze my results from last year.

The other project I plan to continue this year is a survey of aphids and ants in a large experimental common garden. Last year I selected a 20x20m section of the experimental plot and led a biweekly of ants and aphids. I started this because I was interested in seeing how aphids spread over space and time. This year I will examine the same area to see how aphid infestation changes from year to year. Thanks to everyone's help, I collected my first dataset on June 15th. Considering the unusually warm winter, there should be some interesting developments this year.

My third project is to assess aphid and ant abundance among several Echinacea populations. My original plan was to survey aphids and ants on a representative sample of the entire population, including juvenile and non-flowering plants. As it so happens, Amy Dykstra and Daniel Rath conducted a similar survey in 2009 (you can read about it in the archives). For all their hard work, they found very few plants with aphids. Of the plants they surveyed--flowering plants had a much higher rate of aphid infestation than non-flowering plants--32% for flowering versus 5% for non-flowering plants. I decided to take a different approach and focus my sampling effort on flowering plants. Specifically, I will survey aphid and ant abundance on plants that flowered this year and last year. This will allow me to assess whether flowering in one year influences the likelihood of aphid infestation the following year.

That's about it for now. I'll be posting my progress on here as it happens. This summer I have the privilege of collaborating with Jill Gall, an REU student from College of the Atlantic. She's been hard at work preparing her project assessing ant diversity in prairie remnants, which I'll let her tell you about.

And because everyone else is doing it, here's a picture:


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Here is the first copy of my project proposal for studying hybridization between E. angustifolia and E. pallida. I'm sure you will see new drafts once I start to have a better idea of how it is all going to work out.
echinacea project proposal.pdf

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Here are google doc links to the most up-to-date proposals by Callin, Amber, and Maria

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After checking at Hegg Lake again, it appears there are enough Echinacea pallida plants to be able to do reciprocal crosses. I have attached my updated proposal.

Echinacea Project Proposal 3 Jul2011.doc

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I made some updates to my project proposal. You can read them here:


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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 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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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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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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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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Here's what I've come up with for the revisions to my original proposal as of Friday's group discussion; it is not in full form yet but I wanted to flog what I have so far so that people could read it and correct any mistakes I've made, make suggestions, etc.

jenkins echinacea proposal revised.doc

Oh and friday was a big day in the common garden because the first Echinacea plant (in the 99garden I believe) released its pollen. Tomorrow we will investigate to see if any more have followed suit. We also searched for spittle on Echinacea plants for an hour on friday to help Daniel know whether he has a sufficient sample size and found 22 with spittle on them in roughly half the garden.
And I like pretty pictures so here's one for fun

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So, here is my revised project plan. I spent about 2 hours with Stuart today going over the procedure, and I think the randomization aspect and sampling aspect has been redesigned a bit better.
Please let me know what you think. A bit more revision is to come, but this gives the basic idea.

Today was a beautiful day on the prairie. Got to try out my new bike this morning, and rode to the farm in a half hour. That last hill is a killer though. This afternoon, I rode back along Unity Drive, and noticed some Brome grass that had its anthers sticking out. Mistook it for a new type of plant at first. Nice warm weather with a nice breeze, so wonderful bike riding on those gravel back roads. Pictures will come eventually!

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So, here is my proposal for looking at aphid proportion and density in the different prairie remnants this summer, as well as the presence of spittlebugs. Please criticize and let me know what you think.


For the preliminary observations done to get an idea of the number of plants with aphids, I spent yesterday morning scanning the common garden for Aphids. I looked at rows 2, 3, 14, and 40, and wen through them up to the 20 meter mark. I found 3 plants with aphids and 5 with spittlebugs. For the younger plants, I scanned rows 51, 54, 55, and 56, and found 5 plants with spittlebugs and 3 with aphids. Given that I missed some, I would say that of the 270 plants looked at, roughly 2% had aphids.

Yesterday afternoon was also spent pressing plants, where I learned some of the finer points, such as ensuring that the flowers and leaves were well separated, how to fold some plants over, and to ensure that some leaves were turned over so that both sides of a leaf were captured. It is also very important to label clearly, and BEFORE you put the plant in the paper.

The little miss Runestone parade is today, and it is very likely that pictures of this event will be referenced or posted in later posts. (Depending on the varying levels of cuteness).

Also, here is the really cool paper on Spittlebugs, aphids and ants that I found:

Daniel R.


Here's my proposal for my project. Read it. Savor it. Constructively criticize it.
jenkins echinacea proposal.doc

It's still very helter-skelter at this point and in need of much fine-tuning, so any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Also, I'll re-attach the docx files from my last post in doc format.
Echinacea Pollinators nesting2.doc
Protocol for Taking Pictures of Insect Specimens.doc

On a side note, yesterday was a really exciting day because I found my first seedling, we got two bikes at a garage sale for $25 each, and there were the Runestone Days fireworks in the evening. The party lasted long into the night in K-town, and I think I remember falling asleep to the sweet sounds of AC/DC You shook me all night long coming from the street dance. These folks know how to party. I'm looking forward to the kiddie parade tomorrow! Although Amanda and I were saddened to hear it wouldn't be a kitty parade.


Hello again, field log readers--

I know it's been a trying twenty hours of waiting, but I now have more details regarding my independent project!


Just by clicking on my proposal (above) you will get an idea of the specific questions I'd like to answer, how I plan to go about answering those questions and how my study fits into this summer's bigger picture work on competition for pollination. Take it from me, it's a riveting read!

I would greatly appreciate any questions or comments about this proposal-- whether you are part of the Project or just an Echinacea enthusiast in K-town for Runestone Days, feel free to write in the comments. Thanks!


My name is Allegra Halverson and I am from New Hampshire. I am an undergraduate student in Botanical Science at McGill University in Montreal, and a recent addition to Team Echinacea. Lots of things happened this week, so here are a few highlights:

We moved into the old town hall and I've been loving the bike ride to the farm in the mornings so everyone with access to a bike should bring it!

I saw a garter snake, two frogs, two deer, ground squirrels, a wild turkey and lots of birds.

Gretel and I selfed Megan J's prairie turnip plants at the landfill site on Wednesday. We also helped Andrea put out flags and fungal traps in the CG for her mycorrhizae project.

I started my plant collection at the landfill and common garden with 15 plants so far. I have to make a plant collection for a class next winter and will also make one for the Echinacea project at the same time to help future newbies with plant identification.

During this first week we received a lot of background information on the project and began the planning stages of our own projects related to the larger questions about Echinacea in the fragmented prairie habitat. Several projects surrounding the question of competition for pollinators were chosen along with pollen identification projects and one project about the aphids. My project will focus on how inter-specific pollen landing on Echinacea flowers effects style persistence. pollen competition proposal.doc

We developed a new key for the labeling seedling search maps:
-each plant in the circle has a dot with line drawn to the center and the distance (cm) to the focal plant written on the line

s with a circle around it: a seedling
B with a circle around it: a basal plant, not flowering
* with a circle around it: a flowering plant, should have a metal tag like this 7819.2 (.2 is the number of flowering heads)
N with a circle around it: a nail with a metal tag on it

any plot with a plant found in it, other than the focal plant, had a map made for it.
any plot with a seedling found in it was photographed and a pencil marker with a letter (for basal or seedlings) or number (for numbered plants) was placed 2 cm west of all plants
a toothpick was placed 5 cm from the seedling towards the focal plant

am i missing anything?

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