Recently in Dichanthelium 2011-2012 Category

Hi everyone,

I presented a poster at MEEC 2013 (which Katherine wrote on in the previous entry) and just got back from another poster presentation at Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (CAURS) today!

Here's my poster - enjoy looking at it to see what I found out from my summer fieldwork!

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Hi everyone,

Maria here at CBG. On Tuesday, I came back from Thanksgiving break to find that one of the Dichanthelium plants in the growth chamber was flowering like crazy!

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So many flowers! It was also interesting that the plant that flowered looked more stressed (yellow leaves) than some of the other plants.

Today, I collected some pollen (shook the spikelets) on glass slides, stained them with 0.1% toluidine blue, and looked at them under the microscope. It was amazing to see the stained pollen, and how different the viable and inviable pollen looked! I wish I had pictures. I will be learning how to take digital microscopic images (hopefully tomorrow?). So hopefully I'll be able to stain pollen from all flowers tomorrow, take pictures of the stains, and count pollen to get a sense of levels of viability in Dichanthelium pollen.

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Title: Examining Pollen Limitation in a native prairie panic grass, Dichanthelium leibergii


It has lots of cool pictures and Dichanthelium as the background! :)

See you at the symposium!

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Here's an improved version of my poster on my pilot study of Dichanthelium germination, which I presented at the Undergraduate Research & Arts Expo at Northwestern. It's pretty much the same content, but less text and neater.


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Howdy folks,
Maria reporting from K-town.

Sunday we had a real day off =)

The weather was good and sunny, but not too hot.

Random tidbits from the town hall:
Shona made oatmeal pancakes for breakfast - they were really yummy - thanks Shona!
Kelly and Shona went swimming at Elk Lake and bumped into the Wagenius family
Katherine found a new trail in the forest at the Runestone Park on her biking adventure
Andrew had a great time at home and arrived at the town hall before 11pm
Lydia spent the day helping out in the kitchen at the camp in Alexandria
I made Irish Soda Bread to use up some sour milk, but still have ~1 cup sour milk (turned into buttermilk substitute, any ideas what to do with it? Pancakes would be easiest, but we just had them)

After the weekend break, it's time for work again! Monday (today) we divided and conquered.
AM - Greg set out his yellow pan traps in his remnants. Stuart, Katherine, Jill, Lydia and I did demo in the remnants. Ruth and Greg came to join us. We found many Echinacea flowering at Loeffler's Corner East, an okay number at Loeffler's Corner West, 2 at Railroad Crossing (Douglas County), and ~6 at Yellow Orchid Hill.
The others (Shona, Kelly, Andrew) did CG1 rechecks and then worked on their independent projects.

Ruth bought some delicious fluffy spongy chocolate cake which we cleaned off the dish.

PM - The two teams switched jobs. Stuart led Shona, Kelly, Andrew, Ruth and Greg in demo at KJs and On 27. The rest of us did CG1 rechecks, and then worked on independent projects.

Here's a file called "Crash Course in R", which might be helpful to folks

Now for some photos!

Flowering Dichanthelium!
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I think this is a super cool picture as it shows 3 stages of Dichanthelium stigmas/anthers emergence. See how the bottom-most spikelet has the stigma just emerging, while the anthers are still inside; the middle spikelet is open and has both stigma and anthers well-exserted; and the top spikelet is closed and the anthers are drooping out from the spikelet.
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Last but not least here's an epic picture from our bonfire last year :D

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(Aghh I just finished writing and then when i tried to publish the site told me that my session had expired and of course I lost the whole blog post T___T )

Today was a very hot and humid day. Temperatures into the 90s, feeling like 100. Sweaty sweaty sweaty.

Some of us accomplished field work.
Andrew was in C1 this morning painting bracts and bagging Ech flowers.
Katherine was also in C1 doing her aphid add/exclude experiment.
Shona was out at Hegg Lake for 4 hours painting bracts and observing crossed styles.
I (Maria) was also at Hegg Lake (for my own reference from around 10.30 - 4.40pm) surveying Dichanthelium inflorescences I've been tracking for the past week or so, and more importantly, finding plants for my pollen limitation experiment. I have 31 plants flagged and 62 inflorescences twist-tied. I'll be initiating the experiment tomorrow, so I should be in bed now (hence, I'll give more details in a later post).

To end off the week, here's a special 6-leaved Virginia Creeper (they are usually 5-leaved) I found in the 99 south garden. Hope it brings everyone good luck!
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Maria here. I'm back for my second year with Team Echinacea on the field!

I plan to continue work on Dichanthelium this summer. I had written a proposal for my summer project for a research scholarship earlier, here it is for your reference:
Krieghbaum Scholarship _Wang.pdf

And updates from the maternal lines germination experiment with seeds I collected last summer!
URG Final Report.docx

Currently trying to figure out the nits and grits of the Dichanthelium hand pollination technique. Wish me luck, Uff da!

Also been poking through my photos from last summer. It's so funny how similar some of them are to this year's photos.

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Hi everyone!

Maria here. Sorry that I have not posted since the end of summer, but please rest assured that I've not run away with my Dichanthelium seeds, but have been working on them for the past -what? 6 months? A long and intimate relationship indeed.

Brief summary of what has happened:

I did a pilot germination & growth study using bulk Dichanthelium seeds. The results of germination study is nicely summarized in this poster that I presented at Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (MEEC) in Cincinnati 2 weekends ago(?). MEEC was fun and presenting (yapping about) my poster was a lot less nerve-wracking than I had expected:
Thanks to everyone who helped me in my hectic rush to get the poster done X_X

The seedlings are currently growing in the growth chamber at CBG. (There's pictures in the poster of seedlings in agar and in plug trays!)

I shall put up some more pictures sometime in the future.
There's a series of pictures I want to put up showing seeds before and after x-ray and scarification - it's pretty interesting.

I should also post the R script I used to analyze data and produce the graphs on the flog - unfortunately don't have the file on this computer.

Right now I'm working on scarifying Dichanthelium seeds for my maternal lines growth and germination experiment (probably should explain in better detail later, likely in another poster).

Other good news you might find interesting:
Thanks to A LOT of help from Stuart and other advisers, I applied and got the Northwestern Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grant for my Dichanthelium project during the school year (maternal line germination/growth experiment), and also very recently, the Garden Club of America Clara Carter Higgins Summer Environmental Study Scholarship =)

If you have any questions about Dichanthelium or anything I talked about, you're welcome to get in touch. My email is right under the entry title.

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After a good 3 months of sunshine and storms and flower-counting, it's time to head back to civilization and school. Here are my project status updates and associated files. The doc files (MWang_Dichanthelium.doc and MWang_Compatophen.doc) explain what the associated documents are. Some files (perhaps older versions) can be found on the shared drive.


Scanned datasheets that don't really have much information:
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I will be continuing work on my projects in the fall.

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Was tidying up my data on Dichanthelium over the weekend and came up with a summary of sorts.

Here's the summary of seed/plant counts & phenology data.

Here's the raw data + notes + occasional story to help jig my memory :P

I didn't include counts from Return A (aka 2nd round) because I didn't start counting seeds until the 3rd round. (I did not realize that I could count the seeds by merely looking into the envelope until Amber Z suggested it....oops!) 500-600 seeds would be my guess for the seed count for that week.

I have yet to harvest from Staffanson this week (Return G), hence the blank.

Let me know if you think of anything that'll improve the dataset and/or summary! Thanks!

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Uff da! I believe the first round of Dichanthelium seed collection is done. Thanks to Gretel and everyone who helped. And for all the times you waited for me after 5pm.

Collected seeds from 158 plants from 5 sites - Jul 7 Hegg Lake south of parking lot, Jul 8 near Hegg Lake PHEN plot, Jul 9 Hegg Lake field trip area, Jul 11 (yesterday) Loeffler's Corner (west) and Staffanson's (old field).

112 plants had spreading/expanded panicles (not sure what's the correct term) and 47 were not spreading/erect.

Here's the maternal lines data from the plants I sampled, if you're interested:

I'm planning to return to some of these plants a week (or perhaps a little earlier/later, depending on scheduling) after I first collected the seeds. Hopefully there's still some seeds left on the culms for me to harvest!

July 14 update: It is actually 158 plants, not 159. Sorry for the arithmetic error! :P

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Hi everyone, Maria here again. Today was a particularly happening day in my opinion. Everyone had something to do. Amber E. is back from Alaska with Ruth! Karen arrived from Evanston in the afternoon!

In the morning those of us who hadn't finished our Stipa searches in the common garden finished that! (So Stipa is done! - we scaled back though and only searched for the 2011(?) cohort). After that Gretel, Ruth, Amber E and I put Position/Row signs in the common garden and made the signs face East/Westwards so now it's so much easier to read the signs while you are walking in the common garden. Then we got started on looking at the phenology of Echinacea in the common garden. We systematically walked through each row, looking out for flowering Echinacea with emerged anthers and pollen, twist-tying the heads and recording them in our visors. Josh joined us when he finished his Stipa searches. We found quite a few flowering heads - bet there'll be more soon.

While we were looking for flowering Echinacea, we saw Stuart, Callin, Amber Z and Nicholas crowded around 'Joe' - the pet name given to the prominently flowering Echinacea at row 28, position 860. As described by Callin in the previous post, they were practicing bract-painting for their independent projects on Joe.

When we finished looking at all the rows, it was time for lunch and short presentations of our projects. It was good to hear about everyone's projects and talk about my own projects and get feedback. After lunch, we got started on our independent projects or worked on the New Media Initiative.

Gretel and I headed to Hegg Lake to look for Dichanthelium (Panic Grass) seeds for my second project. This summer I will be collecting seeds from Dichanthelium plants from different remnants, including Hegg Lake and Loettler's Corner (I might not have spelt that right - sorry). My plan is to collect seeds from 30 individuals from each "site", as there are several places at Hegg Lake that seem to have a lot of Dichanthelium. After collecting the seeds, I will be bringing them back to Chicago Botanic Garden and do more work on them in the fall/later.

Click here for the
Google doc of my summer project proposals

I am super super indebted/thankful/grateful for Gretel. Without her guidance, I'd probably be in a big mess/not knowing what to do/still be at Hegg Lake as this is my first time doing independent field work.

When we reached the place at Hegg Lake (it was near the road, area with ditch, south of the parking lot), a lot fo the Dichanthelium seeds had already fallen off the culms. It was quite disheartening. We walked a little north and found a patch of Dichanthelium with most of their seeds intact, then we laid out the tape measure for 20m in a roughly north-south direction (I kept thinking it was 2m while Gretel patiently corrected me ^^;;). Initial plan was to do every plant within arm's length from transect, or every other plant if population was dense. However, that was not quite possible given the circumstances. After Gretel and I collected seed from the first plant and did all the measurements, she continued measuring/collecting while I picked ~30 plants near the transect (more than my arm's length) that had at least one culm with 8 or more seeds to collect from and flagged them with a blank flag. I started measuring/collecting after I finished flagging. Around 4pm, Lee called - reinforcements were coming! Ruth and Lee arrived with Karen and they helped us finished the rest of the plants (by that time Gretel had completed 17 plants (!!) and I was on my 6th plant). It turned out that we had 31 flags so 31 envelopes with data and samples! We also collected some "random" samples - ie seeds from various random plants away from transect. Finished around 5pm - thanks to Gretel, Lee, Ruth and Karen! Really excited to get the first 30 done!

Take a look at the simple data entry for today's collection for more technical details if you're interested. I might also do the seed count for today's samples just to see how many seeds we can get from 30 plants using the '8 or more' rule. (I just need to be rreally careful not to lose any seed >.<)


We left 11 flags (labelled with sample number) at the site that we will return to later to collect more seeds from.

Now that I have more experience, I'll definitely be more systematic+efficient about it.
Notes to self for tomorrow/next time:
- "just-in-case" extras (extra equipment, envelopes, pens, sharpies, flags) do come in handy! Meter sticks are probably more efficient than tape measures. More flags would be good. Maybe use a different color for "done" or for extras.
- Extra samples are good too. Maybe do 32 plants per site?
- Bring a plastic bag/something to put a plant specimen in - I need to get a sample of the other Dichanthelium species ("hairy leaved") to press and identify.
- Equipment list would be useful esp when I have more than 5 things to remember.

Lesson of the Day: Having an experienced person around and helpers is always always always helpful! =D

Thanks again to Gretel and everyone who helped!

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