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2020 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 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 emerging seedlings. Each fall since then, the team has searched for the seedlings, then juveniles, and measured them.

It is awkward to refer to our group of plants former seedlings (all plants were seedling). It’s too long to say juveniles or seedlings. So, Team Echinacea uses ‘sling’ as shorthand for a plant that was initially found as a seedling (with cotyledons!) in one of our remnant populations. After finding the sling, we censused it annually up to the present, unless it died.

In 2020 Team Echinacea visited 66 focal maternal plants in 12 prairie remnants to determine the survival and growth of their offspring (slings). The team searched for 140 of the original 955 seedlings and found 70 of them and couldn’t find another 69. The searches spanned August 24th – September 18th and took place on seven days. The majority of the slings were searched for on the first day, August 24th, 77 slings to be exact. One of the slings flowered this year, however, no achenes were produced–the head was a dud.  

In 2020 Emma Greenlee investigated if siling survival can be predicted by its surrounding microhabitat. It turns out that something else is most likely affecting seedling survival not microhabitat.

Mia and Amy D. search for that last seedling at East Elk Lake Road

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.

The master datasheet and stakefile can be found here Dropbox/remData/115_trackSeedlings/slingRefinds2020. None of the 2020 data are online yet.

Team members who refound seedlings in 2020: Lea Richardson, Drake Mullett, Emma Greenlee, Mia Stevens, Anna Meehan, John Vankempen, Amy Dykstra, Stuart Wagenius.

Products: Amy Dykstra used seedling survival data from 2010 and 2011 to model population growth rates as a part of her dissertation. Scott Nordstrom has used some of the sling data in a manuscript that is now in review.

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

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