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2021 Update: Seedling establishment (aka sling)

This field season, the team continued the seedling recruitment experiment begun in 2007. The original goal of the project was to determine seedling establishment and growth rates in remnant populations of Echinacea angustifolia. Seedling recruitment rates are rarely studied in the field, and this is one of the few studies tracking recruitment in the tallgrass prairie. From 2007 to 2013 in spring, Team Echinacea visited plants which had flowered in the preceding year, and they searched near these maternal plants to find any emerging seedlings. Each fall since then, the team has searched for the seedlings, then juveniles, and measured them.

In 2021, Team Echinacea visited a subset of the sling plants at 12 prairie remnants from September 21st to September 29th. The team visited 62 focal maternal plants and searched for 117 sling plants of the original 955 seedlings. In total, the team found 49 basal plants, 2 dead this year’s leaves, 3 dead last year’s leaves, and 3 flowering plants! One of these heads, tag 18136 from East Elk Lake Road, was harvested and is currently being cleaned in the lab at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The team did not find the remaining 60 sling plants, and 17 of these plants have not been found for the past 3 years, so they will not be visited in 2022. No slings have been found at East of Town Hall and Northwest of Landfill for the past three years, so the team will not visit these sites in 2022. Unfortunately, after a long, dry summer, many of the plants were crispy and hard to see, especially at Riley and East Riley. Next year, the team should start hunting for slings earlier while they are still green.

This year, Team Echinacea used the visor demo form to collect data and assigned locs 301-474 to the sling plants to relate the demo form to the sling ids. To aid in finding plants next year, team members gave at tag to 53 sling plants and shot a GPS point for each tagged plant. These GPS points will then be added to the stakefile for 2022.

Over the course of 5 days, 6 people spent 1980 minutes (33 person-hours) collecting data for the sling project this summer.

  • Start year: 2007
  • Location: Remnants in Douglas County, MN
  • 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
  • Overlaps with: Demographic census in the remnants
  • Data collected:
    • The data were collected on a visor using the demo form. The team recorded plant status (can’t find, basal, dead this year’s leaves, dead last year’s leaves, flowering), number of rosettes, leaf count, nearest neighbors, and head count, if flowering.
    • The 2021 sling materials such as maps and scanned datasheets are here: “Dropbox\burnRem\remData\115_trackSeedlings\slingRefinds2021”
    • The 2021 data from the demo form are here: “Dropbox\burnRem\remData\115_trackSeedlings\slingRefinds2021\slingRefindsData2021.csv”
    • The 2021 stakefile can be found here: “Dropbox\geospatialDataBackup2021\stakeFiles2021\sling2021stakeV.01.csv”
  • Samples or specimens collected: One head from East Elk Lake Road was harvested and is currently housed with the rest of the 2021 remnant harvest at the Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Team members who searched for slings in 2021: Amy Waananen, Ruth Shaw, Mia Stevens, Stuart Wagenius, Jared Beck, Alex Carroll
  • Products:

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

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