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Experimental plot one parasite planting (pipp)

Throughout the summer, I designed and collected materials to establish an experiment in experimental plot 1 to study parasites and their impact on the community of host plants they live in. Parasitic plants are plants which absorb nutrients from neighboring plants. Parasitism is an important part of nutrient cycling in many ecosystems and parasite scientists hypothesize it to be an important part of prairie ecosystem maintenance.

This experiment has three factors, each with two levels (presence or absence), but three factor-level combinations are impossible, because the presence of parasites is confounded with presence of soil. Which translates to me having 216 row x position combinations in which I randomly assigned Comandra umbellata, Pedicularis canadensis, and soil plugs. However, because roots trap soil and therefore soil is always carried in with parasites, the two are confounded and so we used soil transplants to account for this.  

Additionally, in all 216 of my “pipp places” I distributed seeds from 32 native plant species: Achillea millefolium (5 seeds), Allium stellatum (3), Anemone patens (3), Astragalus canadensis (1), Bromus kalmii (5), Calylophus serrulatus (3), Carex brevior (3), Carex gravida (1), Dalea purpurea (5), Delphinium carolinianum (2), Elymus canadensis (1), Elymus trachycaulus (5), Geum trifolium (2), Grindelia squarrosa (2), Heuchera richardsonii (2), Koeleria macrantha (5), Liatris aspera (3), Lilium philadelphicum (3), Mirabalis nyctaginea (1), Monarda fitulosa (3), Muhlenbergia cuspidata (1), Oenothera biennis (3), Oxytropis lambertii (2), Pediomelum argophyllum (1), Scrophularia lanceolata (2), Sisyrinchium campestre (2), Solidago nemoralis (3), Sporobolus heterolepis (3), Viola pedatifida (1), Zigadenus elegans (2), Zizia aptera (5).

I developed this experiment to address questions about the impact native parasitic plants have on plant community members. In late October I harvested biomass from my pipp places to understand how species diversity and abundance change after planting parasites.

Start year: 2019

Location: Douglas County, Minnesota; exPt 1

Overlaps with: Experimental plot management, Hesperostipa common garden experiment

Materials collected: 216 .1 x 1m strips of dried biomass are stored at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Data collected: Find data related to this project including the planting scheme in the cgdata repository in ~cgdata\summer2019\Hemiparasites (note/the key for HemiparaMap: C. umbellata = Blue, P. canadensis = Red, C + P = Purple, Soil plugs = Brown, Just seeds = Green).

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