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2019 Update: Gene Flow in Remnants

In summer 2019, I completed a second season of field work for a study monitoring pollen movement between remnant populations. In summer 2018, I chose two focal areas, the NW sites in the study area (populations: ALF, EELR, KJ, NWLF, GC, SGC, NGC, KJ, NNWLF) and SW sites (populations: LC, NRRX, RRX, YOH, and two large populations in between these sites). This summer, I limited the study to the NW sites. As in 2018, I mapped and collected leaf tissue from all individuals in the study areas and harvested seedheads from a subset of these individuals (see Reproductive Fitness in Remnants). In addition, I monitored the flowering phenology of all of the flowering plants in these populations (see Phenology in the Remnants).

Now, I am working on extracting and genotyping the DNA from the leaf tissue samples and a subset of the seeds I collected. This takes a long time! I will use the microsatellite markers that Jennifer Ison developed in her dissertation to match up the genotypes of the offspring (i.e., the seeds) with their most likely father (i.e., the pollen source). To analyze patterns of gene flow, I will assess how individuals’ location and timing of flowering influence their reproductive success and distance of pollen movement.

In addition, last summer we planted all of the seedlings from 2018 in the experimental plot that John Van Kempen set up at West Central Area High School. We will continue to monitor these seedlings to understand how pollen movement distance (or the distance between parents) influences offspring fitness.

Here is the team after we planted nearly 298 seedlings in the experimental plot at WCA!

Start year: 2018

Location: Roadsides, railroad rights of way, and nature preserves in and around Solem Township, MN

Overlaps with: Reproductive Fitness in RemnantsPhenology in the Remnants

Products: I presented a poster based on the locations and flowering phenology of individuals from summer 2018 at the International Pollinator Conference in Davis, CA this summer. The poster is linked here: http://echinaceaproject.org/international-pollinator-conference/.

2018 Update: Gene Flow in Remnants

In summer 2018, I began a project to look at pollen movement within and among the remnant populations. To do this, I chose two focal areas, the NW sites in the study area (populations: ALF, EELR, KJ, NWLF, GC, SGC, NGC, KJ, NNWLF) and the SW sites (populations: LC, NRRX, RRX, YOH, and two large populations in between these sites). I mapped and collected leaf tissue from all individuals in the study areas and harvested seedheads from a subset of these individuals (see Reproductive Fitness in Remnants). I am currently extracting the DNA from the leaf tissue samples and a subset of the seeds I collected, and will use the microsatellite markers that Jennifer Ison developed in her dissertation to match up the genotypes of the offspring (i.e., the seeds) with their most likely father (i.e., the pollen source).

An Echinacea that has had today’s load of pollen fully removed by pollinators

Start year: 2018

Location: Remnant prairies in central Minnesota

Overlaps with: Reproductive Fitness in Remnants, Phenology in the Remnants

Products: Check back with the flog for preliminary results and annual reports.

Team members who worked on this project include: Amy Waananen