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2016 update: Amy D’s local adaptation experiment

In 2008, Amy Dykstra began an experiment to study how adapted Echinacea populations are to their local environments. She collected achenes from three populations distributed across a wide section of Echinacea angustifolia’s range, from Western South Dakota to our study site in Western Minnesota. She established a plot near each collection site where she sowed achenes from all sites. Since then, Amy has assessed survival and fitness traits of the individuals in her plots annually.

The exciting news about this experiment is that three plants flowered this year: two had one head each, and one had vertical development of its stem, but did not form a flowering head. All three were in the Western South Dakota plot and originated from Western Minnesota seed. This summer was the first time that Amy saw any flowering in this experiment. We hope for more flowering in the future so that Amy can analyze how local adaptation affects adult life stages of Echinacea.

Amy saw the first flowering plants in the local adaptation experiment in 2016

Amy saw the first flowering plants in the local adaptation experiment in 2016

Start year: 2008

Location: Grand River National Grassland (Western South Dakota), Samuel H. Ordway Prairie (Central South Dakota), Staffanson Prairie Preserve (West Central Minnesota), and Hegg Lake WMA (West Central Minnesota).

Overlaps with: Dykstra’s interpopulation crosses

Data collected: Amy collected plant fitness measurements (plant status, number of rosettes, number of leaves, and length of longest leaf) electronically.

You can find more information about Amy’s local adaptation experiment and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

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