Categories

Authors

P2 and P8 in the Winter

Stopped by P8 this morning and snowshoed out to P2. If you like these plots in the summer, the winter offers a new, unique perspective of the beauty of a prairie. The last few days, all vegetation has been covered in hoarfrost so the prairie lacks all color and seems like a black and white movie scene.

My dog Clyde (official spelling changed to Collyde). If you could meet him, you would understand.

On the south side of the P2, overlooking the plot.

P8

2020 Update: common garden experiments

Since 1996, members of Team Echinacea have walked, crawled, and ~sometimes~ run next to rows of Echinacea angustifolia planted in common garden experiments. Although protocol varies depending on the experimental plot, every year team members record flowering phenology data, measuring data, and harvest the heads of the thousands of plants we have in common garden experiments.

Note that these experiments are not really gardens. “Common garden” refers to the experimental design. Most of our experimental plots are prairie restorations, a few are abandoned ag fields that are manged as grassland habitat. Some plots have multiple experiments within. The Echinacea Project currently has 10 established experimental plots:

exPts01-10. To avoid repetitiveness of reports on yearly phenology, measuring, and harvesting, this project status report will include updates on all experimental plots 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8. Reports for the others will be elsewhere: Amy Dykstra’s plot (exPt03), the hybrid plots (exPt06, exPt07, exPt09), and the West Central Area common garden (exPt10).

exPt01: Experimental plot 1 was first planted in 1996 (cleverly termed the 1996 cohort), and has been planted with nine other experiments in subsequent years, with the most recent planting being Amy Waananen’s inter-remnant crosses. It is the largest of the experimental plots, with over 10,000 planted positions; experiments in the plot include testing fitness differences between remnants (1996, 1997, 1999), quantifying effects of inbreeding (inb1inb2), and assessing quantitative genetic variation (qgen1). There are also a number of smaller experiments in it, including fitness of Hesperostipa sparteaaphid addition and exclusion, and pollen addition and exclusion. In 2020, we visited 4,340 of the original 10,622 planted and found 3,258 alive. Only 484 plants were classified as “flowering” in exPt01 this year. This is a drastic increase from the nearly 70 plants that flowered in summer 2019 – perhaps it is a testament to the benefits of controlled burning (we burned in spring 2020 but not in 2019). In summer 2020, we harvested ~815 total Echinacea heads in exPt01 (I have not finished the reconciliation process). In the fall, we added 484 staples to positions where plants were gone for three straight years, however, we ran out of staples, so 130 of these positions have “flaples” which are bent pin flags.

exPt02: Heritability of flowering time is the name of the game in exPt02. Planted in 2006, exPt02 was planted to assess heritability of flowering start date and duration in Echinacea. In summer 2020, we visited 2,010 positions of the 3,961 positions originally planted. We measured 1,638 living plants, of which 444 were flowering. In the fall, we harvested ~626 heads from exPt02. We do not have an exact number of heads harvested from exPt02 yet, as we have not had time to complete head reconciliation. Location: Hegg Lake WMA

exPt04: Experimental plot 4 was planted to gauge whether Echinacea from small remnant populations could be genetically rescued via an outcross to larger, more genetically diverse populations. Caroline Ridley and other members planted this plot in 2008. We did not measure exPt04 this year. Location: Hegg Lake WMA

exPt05: The only experimental plot planted at Staffanson Prairie Preserve (SPP), exPt05, was planted to compare progeny of maternal plants from burned and unburned sections of SPP. There were 2800 plants planted originally, but high mortality made it impractical to visit the plot row-by-row. Now, we and treat the plot like demography. We use our survey-grade GPS to find plants in exPt05 that have previously flowered and add more plants to the stake file if new plants in the plot flower. In 2020 we found 11 living plants, two of which were flowering! There was only one head to collect, since one of the flowering plants exhibited only vertical development (no head). Location: Staffanson Prairie Preserve

exPt08: Team Echinacea established quantitative genetics experiments to quantify additive genetic variance of fitness in Echinacea, with the idea that we can estimate evolutionary potential of study populations. The maternal parents of qGen2 and qGen3 are plants in the 1996, 1997, and 1999 cohorts. These plants were crossed with pollen from plants in remnants to produce seed for qGen2 and qGen3, which now inhabit exPt08. Originally, 12,813 seeds were sown in the common garden. Seeds from the same cross (shared maternal and paternal plants) were sown in meter-long segments between nails. A total of 3,253 seedlings were originally found, but only 562 plants were found alive in 2020. There were 5 flowering plants in 2020, and 5 heads. Note that there were an additional 2 heads collected from transplant plot.

Plot management: To ensure that the common garden environment is as similar as possible to the prairie environment we must actively manage it. This management includes removing foreign species and supplementing with natives. One of our main management methods is through fire. We were unable to burn plots this fall however we hope to burn p8 and p1 this spring. We also collected seed to spread after burns including Schizachyrium scoparium, Bouteloua curtipendula, along with multiple species of Solidago and quite a few Asters.

Asclepias viridiflora in p1: In 2019, plugs of an uncommon prairie milkweed, Asclepias viridiflora, were planted in Experimental plot 1. The purpose of this experiment is to assess the survival and fitness of A. viridiflora. Assessing vitality will also provide a frame of reference for species conservation across modern prairies. In 2020 a protocol was developed to identify and measure A. viridiflora. These data are waiting to be entered and analyzed.

Hesperostipa demography:  In 2009 and 2010, porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea, a.k.a. “stipa”) was planted in experimental plot 1. In total, 4417 seeds were planted, 1 m apart from each other and all 10 cm north of Echinacea plants. Between 2010 and 2013, each position was checked, and the plant status recorded. Since 2014, we have searched for flowering plants. The data from this summer can be found here cgdata/summer2020/stipaSearch, these data have not been processed yet.

Inb1: The INB1 experiment investigates the relationship between inbreeding level and fitness in Echinacea angustifolia. Each plant in experiment INB1 originates from one of three cross types, depending on the relatedness of the parents: between maternal half siblings; between plants from the same remnant, but not sharing a maternal or paternal parent; and between individuals from different remnants. We continued to measure fitness and flowering phenology in these plants. In 2020, of the original 557 plants in INB1, 111 were still alive. Of the plants that were alive this year, 30 (27%) were flowering. This is up from the 4% that were flowering last year. All individuals were planted in 2001.

qgen: The qGen1 (quantitative genetics) experiment in p1 was designed to quantify the heritability of traits in Echinacea angustifolia. We are especially interested in Darwinian fitness. Could fitness be heritable? During the summer of 2002 we crossed plants from the 1996 & 1997 cohorts of exPt01. We harvested heads, dissected achenes, and germinated seeds over the winter. In the Spring of 2003 we planted the resulting 4468 seedlings (this great number gave rise to this experiment’s nickname “big batch”). In 2020 we assessed survival and fitness measures of the qGen1 plants. 1,642 plants in qGen1 were alive in 2020. Of those, 17% flowered in 2020. All were planted in 2003.

Stuart and John measure Echinacea plants in exPt02 under a gloomy sky

For more information on survival in common garden experiments, see this flog post about survival in common gardens.

Start year: Various, see individual listings above. First ever planting was 1996.

Location: Various, see above

Overlaps with: Pretty much everything we do.

Data/ materials collected: Measure data for all plots. All raw measure data available in cgData repository. Processed data should eventually be available in SQL database; ask GK for status of SQL database. GPS points were shot for the exPt09 flowering plant. Find the GPS jobs containing the exPt09 corners here: Dropbox/geospatialDataBackup2020/convertedASVandCSV2020/EXPT9_20200917_DARW.asv The stake file to find exPt5 plants is here: Dropbox/geospatialDataBackup2020/stakeFiles2020/exPt05stakeFile.csv Products: Many publications and independent projects.

2019 Update: Common Garden Experiment

Since 1996, members of Team Echinacea have walked, crawled, and ~sometimes~ run next to rows of Echinacea angustifolia planted in common garden experiments. Although protocol varies depending on the common garden, every year team members record flowering phenology data, measuring data, and harvest the heads of the thousands of plants we have in common garden experiments. The Echinacea Project currently has 10 established experimental plots: exPts1-10. Due to the repetitiveness of yearly phenology, measuring, and harvesting, this project status report will include updates on all common garden experiments except for Amy Dykstra’s plot (exPt3), qgen2qgen3 (exPt8), and the West Central Area common garden (exPt10).

exPt1: Experimental plot 1 was first planted in 1996 (cleverly termed the 1996 cohort), and has been planted numerous times in subsequent years, with the most recent planting being inbreeding 2. It is the largest of the experimental plots, with over 10,000 planted positions; experiments in the plot include testing fitness differences between remnants (1996, 1997, 1999) effects of inbreeding (inb1, inb2), and quantitative genetics experiments (qgen1). There are also a number of smaller experiments in it, including fitness of Hesperostipa spartea, aphid addition/exclusion, and pollen addition/exclusion. In 2019, we visited 4392 of the original 10,622 planted and found 3486 alive. Only 70 plants were classified as “flowering” in exPt1 this year. This is a drastic change from the nearly 1000 plants that flowered in summer 2018 – perhaps it is a testament to the benefits of controlled burning (we burned in spring 2018 but not in 2019). In summer 2019, we harvested 52 total Echinacea heads in exPt1. In the fall, we added 789 staples to positions where plants were gone for three straight years – this was desperately needed because no staples were added to positions with dead plants after 2018.

exPt2: Heritability of flowering time is the name of the game in exPt2. Planted in 2006, exPt2 was planted to assess if flowering start date and duration was heritable in Echinacea. In summer 2019, we visited 2050 positions of the 3961 positions originally planted. We measured 1802 living plants, of which 654 were flowering. In the fall, we harvested ~1100 heads from exPt2. We do not have an exact number of heads harvested from exPt2 yet, as we have not had time to complete head reconciliation. Location: Hegg Lake WMA

Stuart explains Echinacea capitulum morphology to Shea in one of the experimental plots.

exPt4: Experimental plot 4 was planted to determine if Echinacea from small remnant populations could be genetically rescued via an outcross to larger, more genetically diverse populations. Caroline Ridley and other members of Team Echinacea sowed 3584 achenes at Hegg Lake WMA in 2008, and we have assessed survival and basal plant characters every year since. Survival in exPt4 is incredibly low. We only visited 21 plants in 2019 and only 7 were alive. No plants have flowered in this plot yet. Location: Hegg Lake WMA

exPt5: The only experimental plot planted at Staffanson Prairie Preserve (SPP), exPt5, was planted in an attempt to compare progeny of maternal plants from burned and unburned sections of SPP. There were 2800 plants planted originally, but high mortality made it impossible to visit the plot row-by-row. Now, we and treat the plot like demography. We use a GPS to find plants in exPt5 that have previously flowered and add more plants to the stake file if new plants in the plot flower. In 2019, we visited 10 plants in the plot, all of which were alive! There were no plants flowering in exPt5 in 2019, though. Location: Staffanson Prairie Preserve

exPt6: Experimental plot 6 was the first E. angustifolia x E. pallida hybrid plot planted by Team Echinacea. A total of 66 Echinacea hybrids were originally planted; all have E. angustifolia dams and E. pallida sires. In 2019, we visited 40 positions and found 28 living plants. No plants have flowered in this plot yet. As of January 2020, all exPt6 measure data through summer 2019 is uploaded to the SQL database. Location: near exPt8

exPt7: Planted in 2013, experimental plot 7 was the second E. pallida x E. angustifolia plot. It contains conspecific crosses of each species as well as reciprocal hybrids. There were 294 plants planted. Out of the 205 plants we visited in 2019, we found 161 plants still alive and basal; there were no flowering plants this year. For some context, survival of pure E. angustifolia crosses was lower than all other cross types. As of January 2020, all exPt7 measure data through summer 2019 is uploaded to the SQL database. Location: Hegg Lake WMA

exPt9: Experimental plot 9 is another hybrid plot, but unlike the other two hybrid plots, we do not have a perfect pedigree of the plants. That is because E. angustifolia and E. pallida maternal plants used to generate seedlings for exPt9 were open-pollinated. We need to do paternity analysis to find the true hybrid nature of these crosses (assuming there are any hybrids). There were originally 745 seedlings planted in exPt9, and in 2019 we visited 510 positions. It was one of the harder plots to measure because over half of the positions did not have a plant and we do not use staples at Hegg Lake WMA. We found 308 living plants in 2019, one of which was flowering! We know the flowering plant has an E. pallida mother, but we are still unsure of the paternity of the flowering plant. When we know, we will post an update. As of January 2020, all exPt9 measure data through summer 2019 is uploaded to the SQL database. Location: Hegg Lake WMA

Summer 2019 measures exPt9… so many “Can’t Finds!”

For more information on survival in common garden experiments, see this flog post about survival in common gardens.

Start year: Various, see individual listings above. First ever planting was 1996.

Location: Various, see above

Overlaps with: Pretty much everything we do

Data/ materials collected: Measure data for all plots. All raw measure data available in cgData repository. Processed data should eventually be available in SQL database; ask GK for status of SQL database. GPS points were shot for the exPt9 flowering plant, as well as for all surviving plants in exPt4. Find the GPS jobs containing the exPt4 and exPt9 points in ~Dropbox\geospatialDataBackup2019, saved in three formats in temporaryDarwBackups2019, convertedXML2019 and convertedASVandCSV2019. The job name is SURV_20191002_DARW and the points have names that distinguish them by the experimental plot. The stake file to find exPt5 plants is here: ~Dropbox\geospatialDataBackup2019\stakeFiles2019\exPtFiles\exPt05stakeFile.csv

Products: Many publications and independent projects.

Survival in common gardens

Last Friday, I was dispatched by Stuart to find the number of plants/ achenes planted in each experimental plot, along with the number alive as of a recent year (2017-2019, based on the plot). Although records of some plots were a bit harder to come across that others, I was able to compile data from each plot (besides p10 – planted 2019 – data coming soon). This would not have been possible without the help of Gretel, so thanks GK! I have attached a small datasheet with the survival data.

In the history of the Echinacea Project, the team has sown 31,888 Echinacea viable achenes in experimental plots. There were many more sown that likely did not have a seed. Team members found 3634 seedlings from these seeds, not including Amy D’s experimental plot 3 and remnant seedling refinds. The team has planted 18,869 Echinacea seedlings in experimental plots, not including p10 – planted at West Central Area HS in 2019. Finally, 7090 Echinacea are currently alive in the experimental plots!

2018 update: Common garden experiment–1996 cohort

In 2018 only 19% of the plants flowered, despite it being a burn year. Is the 1996 finally showing its age?

In 2018, 51 plants flowered of the surviving 269 plants in the 1996 cohort. That means that 41% of the original plants are surviving and 19% of the living individuals flowered. That’s up huge since last year, where only 2% flowered, and the year before where five percent of living individuals flowered. In contrast, however, 45% of living plants flowered in 2015, and  37%, 34%, and 40% flowered in 2014, 2013, and 2012 respectively. We found that of the original 646 individuals, 269 were alive in 2018, only 15 fewer than last year. We are not sure why so many more plants flowered this year. It’s probable that the fire in the plot in fall 2017 influenced flowering rates.

The 1996 cohort has the oldest Echinacea plants in experimental plot 1; they are 22 years old. They are part of a common garden experiment designed to study differences in fitness and life history characteristics among remnant populations. Every year, members of Team Echinacea assess survival and measure plant growth and fitness traits including plant status (i.e. if it is flowering or basal), plant height, leaf count, and number of flowering heads. We harvest all flowering heads in the fall, count all achenes, and estimate seed set for each head in the lab. As yet, these heads are still waiting to be cleaned April 2019.

Start year: 1996

Location: Experimental plot 1

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots, qGen3, pollen addition/exclusion

Physical specimens:

  • We harvested 59 heads. At present, they await processing in the lab to find their achene count and seed set.

Data collected:

  • We used Visors to collect plant growth and fitness traits—plant status, height, leaf count, number of flowering heads, presence of insects—these data have been added to the database
  • We used Visors to collect flowering phenology data—start and end date of flowering for all individual heads—which is ready to be added to the exPt1 phenology dataset
  • Eventually, we will have achene count and seed set data for all flowering plants (stay tuned)

Products:

  • See the exPt1 core dataset where yrPlanted == ‘1996’ for 1996 cohort fitness measurements
  • Amy Waananen’s paper, Mating opportunity increases with synchrony of flowering among years more than synchrony within years in a nonmasting perennial, published last year in The American Naturalist, was based on plants in this cohort.

You can find more information about the 1996 cohort and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

2017 update: Common garden experiment–1996 cohort

In 2017 only 2% of the surviving members of the 1996 cohort flowered!

In 2017 only 7 plants flowered of the surviving 284 plants in the 1996 cohort. That means that 44% of the original plants are surviving and only 2% of the living individuals flowered! Five percent of living individuals flowered in 2016. In contrast, 45% of living plants flowered in 2015, followed by 37%, 34%, and 40% from 2014 back to 2012. We found that of the original 646 individuals, 284 were alive in 2017, only 7 fewer than last year. We are not sure why so few plants flowered this year. It’s possible that lack of fire in the plot influenced flowering rates. This plot was due for a prescribed burn in spring 2017, but weather and scheduling conflicts kept us from burning.

The 1996 cohort has the oldest Echinacea plants in experimental plot 1; they are 21 years old. They are part of a common garden experiment designed to study differences in fitness and life history characteristics among remnant populations. Every year, members of Team Echinacea assess survival and measure plant growth and fitness traits including plant status (i.e. if it is flowering or basal), plant height, leaf count, and number of flowering heads. We harvest all flowering heads in the fall, count all achenes, and estimate seed set for each head in the lab.

Start year: 1996

Location: Experimental plot 1

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots, qGen3, pollen addition/exclusion

Physical specimens:

  • We harvested 8 heads. At present, they await processing in the lab to find their achene count and seed set.

Data collected:

  • We used Visors to collect plant growth and fitness traits—plant status, height, leaf count, number of flowering heads, presence of insects—these data have been added to the database
  • We used Visors to collect flowering phenology data—start and end date of flowering for all individual heads—which is ready to be added to the exPt1 phenology dataset
  • Eventually, we will have achene count and seed set data for all flowering plants (stay tuned)

Products:

  • See the exPt1 core dataset where yrPlanted == ‘1996’ for 1996 cohort fitness measurements

You can find more information about the 1996 cohort and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

2016 update: Common garden experiment–1996 cohort

Most of the surviving plants in the 1996 cohort of the common garden were basal this year

We observed that 95% surviving members of the 1996 cohort were basal in 2016

The oldest Echinacea plants in experimental plot 1 are 20 years old. They are part of a cohort planted in 1996 in a common garden experiment designed to study differences in fitness and life history characteristics of remnant populations. Stuart sampled about 650 seeds (achenes) from eight remnant populations in and near Solem Township, representing the range of modern prairie habitat from small patches along roadsides to a large nature preserve. In 1996, he transplanted seedlings on a 1m x 1m grid, randomly assigning the location of each individual.

Every year, members of Team Echinacea assess survival and measure plant growth and fitness traits including plant status (i.e. if it is flowering or basal), plant height, leaf count, and number of flowering heads. We harvest all flowering heads in the fall and obtain their achene count and seed set in the lab.

Only 15 plants from the 1996 cohort were flowering this year. We were very curious to know if this small number was a result of a low rate of flowering or due to high mortality in the cohort. We found that of the original 650 individuals, 291 were alive in 2016, only 13 fewer than last year. That means only 5% of living individuals flowered. In contrast, 45% of living plants flowered last year (and 37% in 2014, 34% in 2013, 40% in 2012). We’re not sure why so few plants flowered this year; it’s possible that individuals flower less as they age, but we also observed low rates of flowering in younger cohorts in experimental plot 1, suggesting that environmental factors may also be responsible.

Start year: 1996

Location: Experimental plot 1

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots, qGen3, pollen addition/exclusion

Physical specimens:

  • We harvested all 17 heads and at present they await processing at the lab to find their achene count and seed set.

Data collected:

  • We used Visors to collect plant growth and fitness traits—plant status, height, leaf count, number of flowering heads, presence of insects—and it has been added to the database (?)
  • We used Visors to collect flowering phenology data—start and end date of flowering for all individual heads—which is ready to be added to the exPt1 phenology dataset
  • Eventually, we will have achene count and seed set data for all flowering plants (stay tuned)

Products:

  • See the exPt1 core dataset where yrPlanted == ‘1996’ for 1996 cohort fitness measurements

You can find more information about the 1996 cohort and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

Project status update: Common garden experiment–1996 cohort

The oldest Echinacea plants in experimental plot 1 will turn 20 this year. They are part of the 1996 cohort, which was planted in a common garden experiment designed to study differences between remnant populations and assess life history traits as they grew. Stuart sampled about 650 seeds (achenes) from eight remnant populations in and near Solem Township, representing the range of modern prairie habitat from small patches along roadsides to a large nature preserve. In 1996, he transplanted seedlings on a 1m x 1m grid, randomly assigning the location of each individual.

Every year, members of Team Echinacea assess survival and measure plant growth and fitness traits including plant status (whether it is flowering or basal), plant height, leaf count, and number of flowering heads. We harvest all flowering heads in the fall and obtain their achene count and seed set in the lab.

Of the original 650 individuals, 304 were alive in 2015. This year, 136 individuals from the 1996 cohort were flowering with a total of 303 heads. At present, these heads are in the lab where they await processing to find their achene count and seed set.  We used 31 plants (45 flowering heads) from the 1996 cohort as maternal plants in crosses for the most recent heritability of fitness experiment (qGen3). We also used five plants from the 1996 cohort (8 heads total) as part of the pollen exclusion and addition experiment. We covered their heads with pollinator exclusion bags for the duration of the season.

Read more posts about this experiment.

Stuart passes out pollen.

Stuart passes out pollen to Gina and Ben for crosses between 1996 cohort plants in the qGen3 experiment

Start year: 1996

Location: Experimental plot 1

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots, qGen3, pollen addition/exclusion

Products:

  • See the exPt1 core dataset where yrPlanted == ‘1996’ for 1996 cohort fitness measurements

 

Project status update: Phenology and fitness in experimental plot 1

imageHardAtWork.jpg

Experimental plot 1 (P1) encompasses 11 different experiments originally planted with a total of 10673 Echinacea individuals. These experiments include long-term studies designed to compare the fitness of Echinacea from different remnant populations (“EA from remnants in P1”), examine the effects of inbreeding on plant fitness (“INB” and “INB2”), and explore other genetic properties of Echinacea such as trait heritability (“qGen”). In 2014, Team Echinacea measured plant traits for the 5409 Echinacea plants that remain alive and followed the daily phenology of 567 flowering heads. Echinacea began producing florets on July 1 and continued flowering in P1 until August 24. The data collected in 2014 will allow us to estimate the heritability of various traits and assess the lifetime fitness of plants from the numerous experiments.

Experiment Year planted # alive # flowering # planted
1 1996 1996 314 115 650
2 1997 1997 270 57 600
3 1998 1998 32 3 375
4 1999 1999 542 106 888
5 1999S 1999 297 37 418
6 SPP 2001 318 14 797
7 Inbreeding 2001 221 15 557
8 2001 2001 170 11 350
9 Monica 2003 2003 28 3 100
10 qGen 2003 2501 122 4468
11 INB2 2006 716 41 1470

Start year: 1996

Location: experimental plot 1

Products:

Overlaps with: aphid addition exclusion, Pamela’s functional traits, pollen longevity, pollen addition exclusion

2012 Planned Common Garden Measuring Protocol

Here is the protocol that we plan to use for measuring in 2012:
2012.measureFieldProtocolPlan.htm