Recently in E. pallida - E. angustifolia crosses Category

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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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 January Stuart and Gretel kindly hosted me in Chicago and gave me the opportunity to spend a few weeks working in the Echinacea Project lab continuing my research from the summer. Here is my final paper with some interesting results.


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Here's all of my data from my crossing experiment and the R script that I used to analyze it! I'll put up a metadata sheet soon.

final crossing script.txt

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This summer I'm building off of Nicholas' work with E. angustifolia and E. pallida hybridization. I uploaded my proposal last week, but I've already learned a lot since then.
First of all, after first thinking that I should be collecting pollen, painting bracts, observing styles and crossing all on the same day, Stuart pointed out that it would be better to do crosses one day and everything else the next. It makes things go faster, and it is also easier to tell which bracts were painted when. With that in mind I made a bare bones materials and protocol sheet to keep myself organized:


It worked wonderfully for a few days, when most of the heads were flowering and I didn't have to keep track of which plant had been sufficiently crossed and which needed more, and then it started getting a little complicated, especially when Gretel found another pallida head to add in....
Talking to Stuart and Gretel a few days into my crossing I found out that I had been crossing in a less efficient manner than I could have been. I had been trying to fit all of my potential crosses onto each head, every time I crossed. This meant that I would have five or six different colors to paint, each with three or four bracts, and that I would have to do the same the next time to have enough styles. Then I had to look back and forth between data sheets to see whether style shriveling was consistent. What I've switched to now (for the most part) I think is closer to what Stuart had in mind. Now I try to paint six bracts for each cross, and just alternate crosses. For example, I'll do three of the crosses one day and three the next time if there are 18 anthers on a head.
Today, Gretel came out to Hegg Lake to help paint bracts, and combined with less switching between colors, it took us about half as long as it has been for the painting and observing.
It also seems like most of my plants will be done flowering soon. A few have already finished, and a few of the plants with large or multiple heads have already been crossed with every possible cross.

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Last Thursday we planted seedlings from Nicholas Goldsmith's cross pollination experiment in Josh's Garden. Here are the data sheets with planting information.

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Here's a data sheet that will show locations where we'll plant Echinacea Hybrids. Echinacea at Josh's Garden-Excel.xls

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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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Today is my last day with in Douglas County, MN for the summer. I have been trying to get everything together before I go, and so this post will include some files that do a bit of wrapping up from my independent project.

Here is the project status report which summarizes where certain information is located. Some of these rely on accessing our shared drive, so sorry for some of the file locations that don't make sense outside of the Hjelm house: ProjectStatusFormNG.doc

I have also quickly summarized my results so far, updated my methods, et cetera. Here is that file: Echinacea Project Summary 15 August 2011.doc

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I have been working some on my R analysis, and hope to get some statistics time in to help me better analyze my data. Here is what I have so far. I have reorganized my script since the last version to have a more question-based flow, and have changed some of the tests I perform.


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I have started work on analysis of my style shriveling data from the crosses between Echinacea pallida and Echinacea angustifolia. Attached is the R code I have so far.


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This is my CSV file with information on my pollen crosses between Echinacea pallida and Echinacea angustifolia. It will be used in the analysis of that data.


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After enjoying the pig races out at the Grant County Fair yesterday, it was back to field work for me today. I biked out to the Hegg Lake Restoration area to discover that my Echinacea pallida site had experienced something that is now common for many prairie remnants - mowing.

Echinacea pallida tagged PAL 1014 before mowing:

Echinacea pallida tagged PAL 1013 after mowing:

Luckily I still have a decent number of crosses, and this just cuts the number I was planning on having a bit shorter. Tomorrow I will begin crosses to use up my remaining supply of Echinacea pallida pollen.

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