Categories

Authors

2020 Update: Echinacea hybrids (exPts 6,7,9) and Echinacea pallida Flowering Phenology

Echinacea pallida Flowering phenology: Echinacea pallida is a species of Echinacea that is not native to Minnesota. It was mistakenly introduced to our study area during a restoration of Hegg Lake WMA. Since 2011, Team Echinacea has visited the pallida restoration and taken flowering phenology and collected demography on the non-native. We have decapitated all flowering Echinacea pallida each year to avoid pollination with the local Echinacea angustifolia. Each year we record the number of heads on each plant and the number of rosettes. We also get precise gps coordinates of all plants and then chop the flowering heads off! This year we cut E. pallida heads off on June 30th. We revisited plants and shot gps pointson September 17th 2020. When shooting points, we found two E. pallida plants that had missed the big decapitation event. We harvested the heads before any fruit dispersed.

Overall, we found and shot 99 flowering E. pallida. On average, each plant produced 1.96 flowering heads, with a total of 194 beheadings. The average rosette count was 6.1, the maximum was 31 rosettes — absolutely massive!!

Location: Hegg Lake WMA Start year: 2011

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 2020, we visited 40 positions and found 22 living plants. No plants have flowered in this plot yet. Location: near exPt8 Year started: Crossing in 2011, planting in 2012

You can find more information about experimental plot 6 and previous flog posts about it on the background page for the experiment.

exPt7: Planted in 2013, experimental plot # 7 was the second E. pallida E. angustifolia plot. It contains conspecific crosses of each species as well as reciprocal hybrids. There were 294 plants planted, of these plants only 148 plants were still alive. There were 2 flowering plants this year! One was the progeny of a E. pallida x E pallida cross and the other of these flowering plants was a hybrid of E. pallida X E. angustifolia! This is the first hybrid to bloom. Anna M. investigated the compatibility of this hybrid with E. pallida and E. angustifolia by performing a series of hand crosses.

Location: Hegg Lake WMA Start year: Crossing in 2012, planting in 2013

exPt9: Experimental plot 9 is a 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. We found 391 living plants in 2020, three of which were flowering! Two of these plants were technically “flowering” because they produced buds, but they produced zero flowering heads because no flowers ever opened (no pollen or fruits). There were 105 plants that we searched for but could not find. Location: Hegg Lake WMA Start year: 2014

You can find out more information about experimental plot 9 and flog posts mentioning the experiment on the background page for the experiment.

There were a total of three flowering heads between the three plots, we collected flowering phenology data on these heads. Flowering started on June 28th and ended between July 7th and 23rd. There were two additional flowering plants that only produced duds.

Overlaps with: demographic census in remnants, Hybrid crosses

Data collected for exp679: For all three plots we collected rosette number, length of all leaves, and herbivory for each plant. We used visors to collect data electronically and it is still being processed to be put into our SQL database.

Data collected for E. pallida demography and phenology: Demography data, head counts, rosette counts, gps points shot for each E. pallida. Find demo and phenology visor records in the aiisummer2020 repository. GPS coordinates can be found in demap.

Products:

2020 Update: Anna M.’s Hybrid Compatibility Experiment

Echinacea pallida is a non-native species to the prairie of western Minnesota and E. pallida has the potential to out compete the native E. angustifolia. To learn more about this in 2020, we cross-pollinated E. angustifolia, E. pallida, and a E. angustifolia X E. pallida hybrid plant to assess interspecies compatibility. This experiment investigates the reproductive potential of E. angustifolia and E. pallida hybrids, of which may threaten native E. angustifolia preservation.

Since this was the first year that a hybrid plant flowered it was a great opportunity to investigate this question. On July 6th, 2020, seventy-six total hand crosses were completed to test mating compatibility. Three E. angustifolia and three E. pallida plants from Hegg Lake WMA were selected to serve as maternal plants in the experiment. Each treatment consisted of three crosses with pollen from the plant’s respective species, three crosses with the hybrid pollen, and three crosses with no pollen as a control. E. angustifolia and E. pallida pollen was collected from no less than three plants to reduce risk of self-pollination. Finally, pollen collected from each maternal plant was administered to the hybrid. The hybrid received nine crosses with three different E. angustifolia plants, nine crosses with three different E. Pallida plants, and three styles received no pollen as a control. The order of pollen administration was randomized across a designated row of styles.

Pollinator exclusion bags were used to limit exposure to pollinators. We later collected the heads from the hybrid, maternal E. angustifolia, and maternal E. pallida plants. In the winter, these heads will be x-rayed to assess seed set.

Start year: 2020

Location: Hegg Lake WMA, Douglas County, MN

Overlaps with:Echinacea hybrids–p7

Data/materials collected: The team collected 10 heads which will be randomized and x-rayed at the CBG.

The data sheet for the hybrid experiment is located at   ~Dropbox/teamEchinacea2020/annaMeehan/AnnaMeehanDataSheet063020

Experimental Plot 7 / Hybrid Project Update

Hey flog!

I wanted to make a post detailing my experiment this summer with hybrid Echinacea plants at Hegg Lake. As a student, it was my goal to design, execute, and analyze an experiment with Team Echinacea this summer. Because I’m interested in genetics, I wanted to create something that would connect inheritance with population control among Echinacea. With the help of some seasoned Team Echinacea members (Riley T and Mia S), I was able to construct an experiment that would study the reproduction potential of hybrid Echinacea, crossed between E. angustifolia and E. pallida.

In the history of experimental plot 7, two Echinacea plants have flowered. Most recently, a hybrid Echinacea flowered this spring. This allowed us to cross the hybrid’s pollen with a variety of E. angustifolia and E. pallida in the Hegg Lake area. In order to assess reproduction potential, styles were painted, pollinated, and later observed to look for shriveling. Although styles may shrivel for a variety of reasons, shriveling usually indicates reproduction. In the winter, we will assess the seed-set of these individuals to determine reproductive fitness.

When new species from non-prairie remnants are introduced to new areas, the risk of hybridization among plants of the same genus arises. E. pallida, which has shown to out-compete E. angustifolia in our experimental plots, therefore has the ability to pass on its genes through hybrids. If hybrids are able to reproduce, and continue to pass on E. pallida genes, the risks of genetic swamping increase. Therefore, over time, hybridization could eventually exterminate E. angustifolia from its native prairie.

A picture of me painting bracts for our hybrid crosses. Photo credit to Mia S!

In order to assess reproduction, we hand-crossed a variety of sample pollen with E. angustifolia, E. pallida, and hybrid Echinacea. In this experiment, a shriveled style is a sign of successful reproduction. Because Echinacea plants are not self-compatible, the reasons for a style not to shrivel could vary. Reasons could be that the hybrid was not compatible with this type of Echinacea, or because the specific Echinacea plants were incompatible due to inheritance patterns.

An example of hand-crosses from Shona Sanford-Long, 2012

Our sample size was also effected because only one hybrid Echinacea flowered this summer. In the end, we cross-pollinated our hybrid plant with three E. angustifolia plants, and three E. pallida plants. If more hybrids flower in the future, we will be able to expand our sample size and cross variety. For this reason, we hope to continue this experiment in the following summers if hybrids continue to flower.

Overall, we saw that hybrids were more compatible with E. angustifolia rather than E. pallida. While hybrid reproduction passes on E. pallida genes, a greater chance of reproduction with E. angustifolia keeps native genes (and hopefully, native traits) in the prairie gene pool.

In the future, I will share more updates as we continue to analyze and reassess the data.

Thanks for joining me on this exciting, new experiment!

Anna (Meehan)

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!

MEEC 2019: Riley Thoen’s Photosynthetic Hybrids

Next up from MEEC we have Riley’s poster about the photosynthetic rates of Hybrid plants in exPt7. Riley collected the data for this project in the summer of 2018, and has been working on aggregating and analyzing since then. The central question behind the research: do Echinacea hybrids between E. angustifolia and E pallida have higher photosynthetic rates than conspecifics?

Riley with his poster

Overall (as the title says), Riley found that E. angustifolia may be in trouble if it has to compete with E. pallida. Both the hybrids and conspecific E. pallida plants were more photosynthetically active than E. angustifolia. Additionally, they had higher survival rates. And to put the final nail in the coffin, the only plant that has flowered in exPt7 is an E. pallida plant. All things considered, Riley’s work is crucial to finding out how to protect E. angustifolia from this invasive species!

Click the link bel0w for a full .pdf of Riley’s Poster

echinaceaPoster2_Thoen

Title: Native Echinacea angustifolia has depressed viability relative to non-native E. pallida and reciprocal hybrids (E. angustifolia E. pallida) in a fragmented prairie habitat

Presented at: MEEC 2019 at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN

When: April 27th, 2019

2018 Update: Echinacea hybrids – exPt7

In summer 2018, we searched experimental plot 7 for Echinacea plants that are crosses between and within E. angustifolia and E. pallida. Of the 294 plants originally planted, we found 169. However, for the first time in the history of experimental plot 7, we found a flowering plant (an E. pallida x pallida cross)! The table below shows the counts of Echinacea plant in the summer of 2018. In addition to the lowest survivorship, the native E. angustifolia also has been the smallest (above-ground) over the five experimental years. Uh oh!

Riley with the first ever flowering head in exPt7!

 

Status 2018 ang x ang ang x pal pal x ang pal x pal
not found 52 12 26 35
found 22 16 59 72

 

Start year: Crossing in 2012, Planting in 2013

Location: Hegg Lake Wildlife Management Area – Experimental Plot 7

Overlaps with: Echinacea hybrids: exPt6Echinacea hybrids: exPt9

Data collected: Rosette number, leaf number, length of longest leaf, herbivory for each plant collected electronically and exported to CGData. Recheck information for plants not found was also collected electronically and stored in CGData. In 2018, Riley also used a Li-Cor 6400 to analyze ecophysiological traits of Echinacea in expt7. This included photosynthetic rate and water use efficiency. Riley has this data and we’ll make it available after he’s done with his thesis.

Products: Riley’s 2018-19 Biology Honors Project at Gustavus. Riley found that within-species Echinacea angustifolia crosses have lower survivorship, above-ground biomass, and ecophysiological traits than other cross types. Riley made a poster, is writing his thesis, and will defend it in May.

You can read more about rexPt7, as well as links to prior flog entries mentioning the experiment, on the background page for this experiment.

Riley’s Fall Semester Update

Hello Echinacea folks! After a great summer at the Echinacea Project, I returned to Gustavus to work on the morphological and physiological data I collected at experimental plot 7. In my time at Gustavus so far, I wrote a proposal for my project so I can analyze my data and undertake a senior honors project under familiar Echinacea advisors Pamela Kittelson, Stuart Wagenius, and Sanjive Qazi. I have also worked on a methods section for my final honors paper and made a poster (attached below). In addition to my project, this fall I have been working on a project to implement composting and sustainable practices in Saint Peter restaurants and a project analyzing microRNA-mediated stress response in smooth cordgrass. The next steps for my honors project are to write up an introduction and do statistical analysis over our January-term. I will be performing aster and cluster analyses and am really excited to get back into some R coding! echinaceaPoster1_Thoen

2017 Update: Echinacea hybrids — exPt 7

This summer, we measured hybrid Echinacea plants in experimental plot 7 at Hegg Lake. 159 of the original 294 planted seedlings (54%) were found this year. We searched 243 of the 294 positions where plants were originally planted (the other 51 positions were not searched because plants have not been found for at least three years in a row). The table below shows the fate of plants in 2017 summarized by cross-type — the first name in the cross type is the maternal species, and the second name is the paternal species (e.g., ‘ang x pal’ is angustifolia mother and pallida father).

Status 2017 ang x ang ang x pal pal x ang pal x pal
not found 53 10 33 35
found 21 18 52 72

Flowering Echinacea angustifolia.

Start year: Crossing in 2012, Planting in 2013

Location: Hegg Lake Wildlife Management Area – Experimental Plot 7

Overlaps with: Echinacea hybrids: ex Pt 6; Echinacea hybrids: ex Pt 9

Data collected: Rosette number, length of all leaves, herbivory for each plant collected electronically and exported to CGData. Recheck information for plants not found was also collected electronically and stored in CGData.

Products: Taylor Harris’s 2015 poster demonstrating fitness benefits of pallida parenthood.

You can find more information and links to previous flog entries involving experimental plot 7 on the background page for the experiment.

2016 Update: Echinacea Hybrids — exPt 7

To the trained eye, Echinacea pallida is easily distinguished from E. angustifolia by its white pollen, large heads, and long, droopy ray florets.

Echinacea pallida observed at Hegg Lake.

This summer, we remeasured plants in experimental plot 7 at Hegg Lake. These plants are hybrids of Echinacea angustifolia (native) and Echinacea pallida (non-native, but planted at a nearby restoration). Shona Sanford-Long performed these crosses in 2012, Jill Pastick germinated the seeds that winter, and Stuart planted the seedlings the following spring. It is not yet known how the introduction of this non-native species will affect local Echinacea angustifolia populations. The survival rates and reproductive fitness of these plants can tell us how well the hybrids can compete with the native species. We have returned to the plot each of the last three years and measured the plants found there.

198 of the original 294 planted seedlings (67.3%) were found this year. The table below shows the fate of each cross-type in 2016 — the first name in the cross type is the maternal species, and the second name is the paternal species (e.g., ‘ang_pal’ is angustifolia mother and pallida father). These plants were measured on August 3rd and rechecked on September 2nd. No plants flowered this year, meaning that we must wait longer to assess seed set and reproductive fitness.

Cross Type

Found16 ang_ang ang_pal pal_ang pal_pal

no      34      10      20      32

yes      37      21      65      75

 

Start year: Crossing in 2012, Planting in 2013

Location: Hegg Lake Wildlife Management Area – Experimental Plot 7

Overlaps with: Echinacea hybrids: ex Pt 6; Echinacea hybrids: ex Pt 9

Data collected: Rosette number, length of all leaves, herbivory for each plant collected electronically and exported to CGData. Recheck information for plants not found was also collected electronically and stored in CGData.

Products: Taylor Harris’s 2015 poster demonstrating fitness benefits of pallida parenthood.

You can find more information and links to previous flog entries involving experimental plot 7 on the background page for the experiment.

Project status update: Echinacea hybrids-exPt 7

A hybrid at Hegg Lake

A hybrid at Hegg Lake

In 2015, we continued an experiment that quantifies fitness of Echinacea angustifolia x pallida hybrids and pure-strain plants. Out of the the original 522 plants, 323 were still alive in 2015, which is a survival rate of 62%. The mean leaf length of these plants was roughly 11.7 cm. Stuart planted the 522 seedlings at Hegg Lake WMA in spring 2013. The seedlings result from hand reciprocal crosses conducted by Shona Sanford-Long during the summer of 2012.

Read more posts about this experiment here.

Start year: 2013

Location: Hegg Lake Wildlife Management Area – Experimental plot 7