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2019 Update: Seedling Establishment

This field season the team continued the seedling recruitment experiment begun in 2007. The original goal of the project was to determine the rates of establishment and growth of seedlings in remnant populations of Echinacea angustifolia. From 2007 to 2013, plants which had flowered in the preceding year were visited in the spring to find any resulting seedlings. Each fall since then the team visits the plants, re-finds the seedlings and measures the living offspring.

In 2019 Team Echinacea visited 69 focal maternal plants in 12 prairie remnants to determine the survival and growth of their offspring. The team searched for 128 of the original 955 seedlings and found 87 of them (10 fewer than were found in 2018.) However, the team also re-found 27 seedlings which could not be located in 2018. None of the original seedlings flowered this year.

In addition to the annual seedling search, in 2019 the team began working on a project to relate the fitness and mating scene of maternal plants to their offspring. In late October 2019, Erin and Riley staked to the locations of 451 maternal plants included in the original experiment which now have “inactive” circles with no living seedlings. They visited these maternal plants because they were not included in demo in 2018 or 2019, and their goal was to determine the status of every original maternal plant. Since then, a group of Team Echinacea alums and current members has begun working to prepare the data for analysis in 2020 with the goal of submitting a manuscript in the spring.

The first day of searching occurred at East Elk Lake Road, where 13 of the original maternal plants still have living offspring.

Sites with seedling searches
East Elk Lake Road, East Riley, East of Town Hall, KJ’s, Loeffler’s Corner, Landfill, Nessman, Northwest of Landfill, Riley, Steven’s Approach, South of Golf Course, Staffanson Prairie

Start year: 2007

Location: Douglas County, MN

Overlaps with: Demographic census in the remnants

Data/materials collected: The EchinaceaSeedlings repository holds the data for this experiment. Lea Richardson restructured the repo in December 2019 to facilitate collaboration on the new project.

Notes on the project and master datasheet scans are at ~Dropbox\remData\115_trackSeedlings\slingRefindsFall2019

Data specific to the new 2019 project, including maps and datasheets used to refind the inactive circle maternal plants, is at ~Dropbox\slingProject2019

Team members involved with the 2019 project: Lea Richardson, Erin Eichenberger, Riley Thoen, Drake Mullett, Amy Waananen, Scott Nordstrom, Will Reed, Amy Dykstra, Gretel Kiefer , Stuart Wagenius

Products: Amy Dykstra used seedling survival data from 2010 and 2011 to model population growth rates as a part of her dissertation.

You can read more about seedling establishment, as well as links to prior flog entries mentioning the experiment, on the background page for this experiment.

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