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2017 update: Phenology in the remnants

In 2017, according to our preliminary data, flowering began on June 24th with one head at the Aanenson remnant. The latest bloomer was a 5-headed plant at Steven’s Approach, and the last day its last head shed pollen was August 26th. Peak flowering for the 9 remnants we observed this year was July 13th. There was a total of 427 flowering plants producing 575 flowering heads. The figure below was generated with R package mateable, which was was developed by Team Echinacea to visualize and analyze phenology data.

The gray shaded area is made up of horizontal gray lines, each representing the duration of one flowering head. The vertical green line represents the peak flowering date, July 13th. On average, heads flowered for approximately 2 weeks.

From 2014-2016, determining flowering phenology was a major focus of the summer fieldwork, with Team Echinacea tracking phenology in all plant in all of our remnant populations. Stuart began studying phenology in remnant populations between 1996 and 1999 and several students also studied certain populations in following years. The motivation behind this study is to understand how timing of flowering affects the reproductive opportunities and fitness of individuals in natural populations.

Start year: 1996

Location: roadsides, railroad rights of way, and nature preserves in and near Solem Township, MN (2017: Aanenson, Around Landfill, East Elk Lake Road, Nessman, Northwest Landfill, Steven’s Approach, Staffanson Prairie Preserve, Town Hall)

Overlaps with: Phenology in experimental plots, demography in the remnants, reproductive fitness in remnants

Physical specimens:

  • We harvested¬†121 Echinacea heads at 8 of the 28 remnants. These were harvested from Lea and Tracie’s “rich hood” (richness of neighborhood) plots. Not all harvested heads were monitored for the phenology dataset.

Data collected: We identify each plant with a numbered tag affixed to the base and give each head a colored twist tie, so that each head has a unique tag/twist-tie combination, or “head ID”, under which we store all phenology data.¬†We monitor the flowering status of all flowering plants in the remnants, visiting at least once every three days (usually every two days) until all heads were done flowering to obtain start and end dates of flowering. We managed the data in the R project ‘aiisummer2017′ and will add it to the database of previous years’ remnant phenology records.

GPS points shot: We shot GPS points at all of the plants we monitored. The locations of plants this year will be aligned with previously recorded locations, and each will be given a unique identifier (‘AKA’). We will link this year’s phenology and survey records via the headID to AKA table.

You can find more information about phenology in the remnants and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

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