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2017 update: Pollen addition and exclusion

Echinacea head with pollinator exclusion bag.

Does receiving the maximum amount of pollination vs. no pollen at all affect a plant’s longevity or likelihood of flowering in subsequent years? We are trying to find out in this long-term experiment, but flowering rates have been so low in the past few years we are not learning much.

This summer, only three plants flowered of the 27 plants remaining in the pollen addition and exclusion experiment. We continued experimental treatments on these flowering plants and recorded fitness characteristics of all plants in the experiment. Of the original 38 plants in this experiment, 13 of the exclusion plants and 14 of the pollen addition plants are still alive.

In this experiment we assess the long-term effects of pollen addition and exclusion on plant fitness. In 2012 and 2013 we identified flowering E. angustifolia plants in experimental plot 1 and randomly assigned one of two treatments to each: pollen addition or pollen exclusion. When plants flower in subsequent years they receive the same treatment they were originally assigned. Because flowering rates have been so low in 2016 & 2017, differences in flowering due to treatment are not detectable.

Start year: 2012

Location: Experimental plot 1

Physical specimens: We harvested three flowering heads from this experiment that will be processed with the rest of the experimental plot 1 heads to determine achene count and proportion of full achenes.

Data collected: We recorded data electronically as part of the overall assessment of plant fitness in experimental plot 1. We recorded dates of bagging heads and pollen addition on paper datasheets.

You can find more information about the pollen addition and exclusion experiment and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

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