Recently in Q2 Category

We started out the day doing what we do best: searching for seedlings in Experimental Plot 8 (a.k.a. Q2). Having braved formidable winds to plant them late last October, Stuart, Gretel, and Ruth were visibly relieved to see them pop up this spring. Since last week Team Echinacea has been diligently tracking down each seedling and "naming" them with colored toothpicks and row location coordinates, accurate to one centimeter.

In the afternoon we located and counted Echinacea in the recruitment experiment, a continuation of the project described in this paper. The procedure is really fun: we find the boundaries of the plots with metal detectors, triangulate points, then search within an area exactly the size of a regulation 175-gram Disc-craft Ultra Star disc (a.k.a. frisbee). Go CUT!

The best part of the day was tagging my first Echinacea. Maybe it just lost its old tag, but I like to think this is the first time this plant has ever born the silver badge. Sometime 10-12 years ago, this seed was planted. Now that it is finally about to flower, it has the honor of going down in history in the databases of the Echinacea Project, living out the rest of its life in the service of science. This 23rd of June, 3.65 m from the southwest corner and 0.79 m from the southeast corner of the northeast plot in Recruit 9, I named a flowerstalk "19061." Isn't it beautiful?

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Doesn't the flower head look ripe? Stuart says we may start to see flowering as early as the end of this week!

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Eventually the time came to leave my new friend and join the rest of the team. This is where they were:

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(Can you spot the team?)


A nice day is Douglas County is a very nice day.

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We took some high-quality images of Echinacea achenes for our q2 experiment this fall; an example is below. Notice how easy it is to distinguish empty achenes from those with embryos. By darkening the room and removing the opaque film, we were able to use lower levels of xrays for a shorter duration than we have previously. This plate was exposed to 12kV x-rays for 4s. We used long, thin glassine envelopes to facilitate counting. Notice also that the laser-printed labels reveal the packet IDs. xrayimage648.1.png
X-ray image of 30 packets of achenes from
Echinacea angustifolia. Click on thumbnail to enlarge.
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We are preparing to plant a new experiment this fall. We are cutting down ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanicus) in an abandoned agricultural field that was planted with Brome in the 1980s. We will plant Echinacea angustifolia seeds from our experimental crosses this summer. We will hand broadcast two native warm-season grasses: Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) and Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem). Keep up-to-date on progress on this experiment via twitter.

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Dwight, Lydia, & Ilse with tools of the day: chainsaw, loppers, brushcutter. Not shown: paintbrush.

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