Sunday and Monday Update

Hello, flog followers!

This is going to be a joint flog post for Sunday and Monday (mostly Sunday…).

Sunday was a travel day for me. I woke up at 5:30 am and hopped on the Amtrak train in Dearborn, Michigan and headed back to Chicago, Illinois.

While on the train I worked on revisions for my Master’s thesis and worked on a poem while I drank my coffee.

Thank you Amtrak Employee for the coffee.

When I arrived in Chicago, I had two hours to kill before my next train. So, I grabbed lunch at Chipotle and hung out in the main hall of Chicago’s Union Station.

These statues at Chicago Union Station are supposed to represent Night and Day.

While on the train from Chicago to Minneapolis, Minnesota I worked on my Master’s thesis some more.

My Amtrak trek from Dearborn, MI to Minneapolis, MN.

When I arrived in Minneapolis I had to take the Green Line to Stuart’s brother’s house. This is where I left my car while I was out of town. So, here is a thank you to him and his family for that!

No tickets or tows
There went my remaining woes
I am so thankful

Finally arrived in Kensington, Minnesota around 1:15 am and in bed by 2 am.

Woke up Monday and got to work with Team Echinacea after my week away! We went out to Experimental Plot 2 and took phenology data and administered our pulse/steady pollination treatments.

Julie found a toad.

After work in P2 I went out to Riley and collected seeds.

Saturday Adventures

Saturday started with the three present townhallers (Erin, Julie, and myself) heading out to the field with John and Stuart in order to collect phenology data from one of our experimental plots. Jay and Riley decided to take a trip back to their undergrad institute for the weekend and Shea had prior commitments too.

Julie taking phenology measurements
Pollination or just visitors? How do we assess the quality of species interactions?

Erin and I stumbled upon a mutant floret on an Echinacea. Typically the ray florets (the long pink ones people usually think of as petals) are sterile and have unforked stigma but this one has a forked stigma! Question is it receptive to pollen?

Mutant floret

Once we finished up our phenology data collection we headed back to town hall to relax. However, I decided to take a trip out to Staffanson to work on some poems and found that someone had driven through the remnant prairie!

The scene of the crime…

I have no idea who did this or why but it made me fairly disappointed. Nevertheless, I had a productive afternoon in Staffanson.

Project status update 2015: Heritability of phenology in experimental plot 2

For his REU research project, Will is investigating heritability of flowering phenology in experimental plot 2 (p2), which was planted in 2006 with 3961 individuals selected for extreme (early or late) flowering phenology. This summer Will and Team Echinacea monitored the phenology of all 646 flowering plants (1216 individual heads) in p2, as well as the phenology of their parents in p1. Flowering in p2 began on the 4th of July and ended on August 26th. The peak day of flowering was July 27th when 1018 heads were flowering. The average duration of flowering for a head was 12.1 days. It was a huge year for flowering in p2 with nearly 5 times more heads than 2014 and over 16 times more than 2013. Will is comparing the flowering schedules of the p2 plants with the 2005 phenology records of their parents. As the plants in p2 mature, and perhaps flower more frequently, we will continue to gather data on family lines of Echinacea to discern the genetic component of their flowering phenology.


Many flags indicate many flowering plants in experimental plot 2

Start year: 2006

Location: Experimental plot 2 (Hegg Lake WMA)

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots

Products: The 2015 phenology records from p2 will be added to the existing multi-year ExPt2 phenology dataset. Will is using tools from the R package echPhenology  developed by Team Echinacea to analyze and produce visualizations of the flowering schedule observed in p2. He plans to present his findings at a conference in spring or summer 2016.

2015 flowering schedule of all heads in p2: First day of flowering was July 4th, peak was July 27th, and the last day was August 26th.



Read previous posts about this experiment.



Happy Friday!

My beautiful bracts!

My beautiful bracts!

Ben, Gina, & Matt practice  precise painting

Ben, Gina, & Matt practice precise painting

Today was another successful day with the team! We had a morning filled with phenology at half of the sites and later everyone divided to get many things accomplished. After lunch, some of us practiced painting the bracts of Echinacea; this wasn’t too hard, it was actually very pleasant. Using toothpicks, we had to be sure to paint the tops of bracts as well as the bottom while making sure not to get paint on the florets or apply too much.

Two heads are weirder than one

I see absolutely nothing wrong here.

Here, Lea and I were at p2 collecting phenology data in the afternoon. There are 80 rows in this plot and it took us almost the whole day to get the job done! I’m from the south and it honestly takes a lot for me to confess that a place is hot, but the way the sun was blazing today, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it out of the prairie to deliver this flog post to you! It was so “warm” today I was seeing double headed Echinacea…….. sheesh.

To conclude a week full of accomplishments, Stuart sliced up the best watermelon ever. One shouldn’t argue this watermelon’s caliber; I know this was the best watermelon ever because it replenished all the sense I lost in p2 today. I’d say that everyone else enjoyed this glorious melon as well! Today was a good Friday!

Watermelon after work!

Watermelon after work!

First look at P2

After our day was delayed by rain, we started off the morning with remnant phenology. Groups headed to the landfill site, Staffanson Prairie Preserve and other remnants. We shot several points at Landfill, East Elk Lake Road and Around Landfill. We got a lot done in the morning!

We had a late lunch and then headed back out into the field. Three of us went to Hegg Lake and put twist ties on flowering plants in Jennifer’s plot. there is a ton of flowers out there and we are almost a quarter of the way done! I will be doing a project involving the plants in Jennifer’s plot (p2) looking at the heritability of flowering phenology in Echinacea angustifolia. It is great to have a lot of flowers in p2!



Here is Ben after twist tying about 70 flowering Echinacea heads in p2, Thanks for the help Ben!

Flowering in Jennifer’s Phenology Experiment

We found 147 flowering plants in Jennifer’s Phenology Experiment during a thorough, but not exhaustive, search on Friday. Most of these plants have buds only and will start shedding pollen later. I posted a map of locations of all plants to flower this year.

c2Phenology2011initial.png Click on thumbnail to see a larger map.

Jennifer planted this experiment to investigate heritability of flowering timing (phenology) in spring 2006.

Last year eight plants flowered and about 2700 plants were alive. Read about measuring last year.

Assuming that almost all of those plants are still alive and that we didn’t find all the flowering plants, then about 6% of surviving plants will flower this year (>147/2700).

For kicks, I made maps of the paths of data enterers. We usually worked in pairs and used one person’s PDA to enter data. Here are the paths…

Josh D’s visor, Amber E’s, Nicholas G’s visor, Gretel K’s visor, Lee R’s visor, Callin S’s, Stuart W’s visor, Maria W’s visor, Amber Z’s visor. For the record Katherine M’s visor had only one record and we didn’t use Karen T’s visor.

Hegg Lake 2009

Thank you all for your hard work when we measured my Hegg Lake common garden a week back. It was by far the fastest the Hegg garden was ever measured and there were no rechecks besides can’t finds! Below is some information regarding the Hegg garden.
Total plants planted in May 2006: 3,945
Number alive in August 2006: 3,699 (94%)
Number alive in August 2007: 3,320 (84%)
Number alive in August 2008: 3,008 (76%)
Number alive in August 2009: 2,834 (72%)
As you can see the length of the longest leaf actually decreases from 2008 to 2009. However, there were way more plants with multiple rosettes this year than in years past. I think the leaf length decreased because last year there was so much duff on the ground that the petioles of the leaves grew really long. The plants definitely looked healthy this year after the spring burn than they did last year. What was really exciting was I had my first flowering plant this year in row 7 position 44! Below is a picture of that flowering plant, and one of everyone measuring at Hegg.
Also, thank you to everyone in the town hall for being so hospitable to my dad, Oscar, and me. We had a great week and except my weird heat rash (it eventually went away) it was a lot of fun. Best of luck with the final push at the end of the season!
Jennifer, Oscar, and John