Project status update: The mating scene (remnant asynchrony, isolation, and incompatibility)

This project investigates the role of three fundamental constraints on mate availability – temporal asynchrony, spatial isolation, and reproductive incompatibility – in remnant Echinacea angustifolia populations. During the summer of 2014, we conducted two studies related to The Mating Scene project. In the first study, we mapped 991 Echinacea plants and monitored the phenology of 1360 flowering heads across 31 remnants to quantify spatial isolation and flowering asynchrony. At the end of the season, we harvested 193 flowering heads from 25 remnants to assess seed set. In the second study, we performed 364 pollen crosses to characterize patterns of reproductive incompatibility within 10 remnants. With the data collected in 2014 and subsequent years, we aim to elucidate how the interactions between temporal asynchrony, spatial isolation, and reproductive incompatibility influence reproductive fitness in fragmented prairie remnants.

site # of flowering plants # of flowering heads # of crosses # of heads harvested
1 aa 60 83 36 5
2 alf 63 78 6
3 btg 3 3 2
4 dog 1 2
5 eelr 33 17 28 5
6 eri 38 54 5
7 eth 9 46 5
8 gc 6 6 3
9 kj 7 8 5
10 lce 90 70 24 5
11 lcw 51 95 24 5
12 lfe 64 103 24 5
13 lfw 89 57 24 6
14 ngc 8 5
15 nnwlf 2 13 5
16 nrrx 20 25 5
17 nwlf 13 16 5
18 on27 92 96 42 5
19 ri 82 112 44 5
20 rrx 43 47 33 5
21 rrxdc 3 3 2
22 sap 29 13 5
23 sgc 8 243 5
24 SppE 92 81 41 42
25 SppW 51 38  44 42
26 th 8 9 5
27 tower 7 11 5
28 waa 4 8
29 wood 4 4
30 yohE 4 5
31 yohW 7 9

Start year: 2014

Location: Phenology in 31 total remnants, compatibility in 10 remnants

Products: The phenology and compatibility datasets need to be made readyR. The harvested flowering heads are being processed at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Overlaps with: phenology in six remnants, fire and flowering at SPP

Today was a great day!

Today was a great day for Team Echinacea! After a quick morning of remnant phenology, we finished measuring Lydia’s Experimental Plot 09!!! On the Northwest Phenology Route, all flowering Echinacea at East Elk Lake Road and North West of Landfill have finished flowering. It is pretty cool to think of how long we have been returning to these sites for phenology, and now many of them are wrapping up (and quickly!). In the afternoon Elizabeth, Gretel, Jared and I were busy working on demography at East Riley, Riley, Railroad Crossing, and North of Railroad Crossing. Other team members went to KJ’s to look for seedlings that teams have been following in years past.

On the pollinator note comes a follow up from Steve Ellis’s talk with us last Friday. I recently came to learn that the city of Shorewood, MN has passed a law banning the use of neonicotinoids!!!! Shorewood now joins the all too small list of cities banning neonics, including Eugene, Oregon and Spokane, Washington. Although this is a small step towards protecting the bees, Shorewood has made a very important statement. Check out the Star Tribune article about the recent ban, along with a post on the Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog!


Tripod Dog

Today we spent the morning doing remnant phenology. It seems that we are getting to the end of flowering and phenology is going faster and faster. During phenology we collected pollen that will be freeze dried and used for crosses next summer! Woah! While I was collecting pollen from the single flowering plant at the DOG site, the elusive three legged dog came to visit me. She fell down by me and panted while I collected the pollen. photo (13).JPG

In the afternoon we furiously measured Experimental Plot 1. Gretel and I raced other groups aswell as each other, finishing four rows before we called it a day and headed in.

Phenology, mapping, and a map

Today the whole team was busy mapping and monitoring the phenology of Echinacea at numerous remnants. Although mosquitoes, gopher holes, and construction crews conspired against us, we were able to complete all monitoring before a bout of afternoon rain.

Here is a quick and dirty map of flowering Echinacea plants at Staffanson prairie that were mapped between 2011 and 2013. Please note that west, rather than north, is “up” on this map (the unusual orientation of this map is just for my convenience)…


First Day of Flowering

It’s been a day full of giddy excitement for Team Echinacea. Not only was it a team member’s birthday, but on our first trip to the remnants we found the first flowering head of the season.

If you look carefully at the picture below you can see the first style on the bottom right.


This plant is number 1414, first tagged in 1997 in the KJ remnant. The upper florets on 1414 are not typical in form, and appear to be diseased. Bets are still on for the first flowering head in the experimental plots.