Project pollinator competition is going well, although it has had its issues, mostly involving my camera/pole/counterweight apparatus. I have chosen my plants and four sites, all roadside: Nessman, Railroad Cross, East Elk Lake Road, and Northwest of Landfill. I am surveying plants that have flowered synchronously except for Nessman where I can survey the entire population. In total, I will record data for about 26 plants and 33 heads.
It was very difficult to get my camera high enough to get a 3 m radius around the plants. Hence, I will be taking multiple pictures of each plant to try to get the distances from the potential competitors to the Echinacea. I've done some test shots in the field, and using 1m white "x"s made previously by the kite team has helped a lot to orient myself in the photos and to see how many pixels (not "pickles" like I said to a friend on the phone) are in a meter in each picture. I shot pictures for one of my study plants at Railroad Crossing and also took field measurements for distances from one plant to the other. I repeated the measurements with ImageJ and found that there is only a 2-6% difference in the methods, so I can use them interchangeably! I'm super pumped! This makes much more sense for sites that have few surrounding plants.
A couple plants at East Elk Lake Road. Each of the Xs are uniquely marked, and the cardboard next to the plant is its tag number.