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2017 Update: Hesperostipa Common Garden Experiment

This summer we found 52 basal Stipa plants and 209 flowering plants! The flowering Stipa plants had a median of 15 fruit per plant. Our largest flowering Stipa plant had 301 fruits and 31 culms. We harvested around 5000 fruits from experimental plot 1! These Stipa plants, or porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea) were planted as seeds in 2009 and 2010.

A Stipa collage created by Anna with collected fruits, a flowering plant, and Will and Wes searching for stipa.

Start year: 2009

Location: Experimental plot 1

Physical specimens: Fruits from the 209 flowering plants were broadcasted in experimental plot 2.

Data collected: There are currently 3 datasets in the Stipa folder in CGData (~Dropbox/CGData/Stipa/225_measure/measure2017/)

  • 20170628StipaSearchData.csv: 50 records from 28 June 2017. We searched for basal and flowering Stipa and recorded row and position, culm count, fruit count, aborted fruit count, missing fruit count, and notes.
  • exPt1StipaSearch20170705.csv: 200 records from 28-29 June 2017. This csv includes rows with position 859 and status “Other (Note)”, indicating the row was searched but no stipa was found. When Stipa was found, status, row, position, culm count, fruit count, aborted fruit count, missing fruit count, and notes were recorded.
  • 20171109StipaSearchData.csv: 69 records from 2 August 2017 and 9 August 2017. In this csv, predetermined rows and positions (where Stipa were found in previous years) were searched and the same information was collected as the other csvs. Since this was later in the season, all fruits had already dropped–but they could still be counted.

Products:

  • Josh Drizin’s MS thesis included a section on the hygroscopicity (reaction to humidity) of Stipa awns. View his presentation or watch his short video.
  • Joseph Campagna and Jamie Sauer (Lake Forest College) did a report on variation in Stipa’s physical traits within and among families in 2009

You can find out more about Stipa in the common garden and links to previous flog posts about this project on the background page for this experiment.

2016 Update: Hesperostipa Common Garden Experiment

James counts the fruits!

Counting the fruit of a flowering plant.

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, 10 cm north of Echinacea plants. Between 2010 and 2013, each position was checked, and the plant status recorded. Since 2014, we have only searched for flowering plants. This summer, 143 flowering stipa were found, with a median of 24 fruit per plant. We also checked for living plants in positions where stipa was observed in 2011 or 2014. In these additional 492 positions, 89 plants were found alive, with 19 of those plants flowering.

The following table shows how many plants have been found alive in each year.

Year Found Flowering Full Fruit
2010* 702
2011 483
2013 442 4
2014** 32 32  199
2015*** 26 1 9
2016**** 208 143 4391

(*) only one cohort (2009) included, (**) only searched for flowering plants, (***) only searched prior year’s flowering plants, (****) only searched flowering plants + subset of positions

 

Start year: 2009

Location: Experimental plot 1

Physical specimens: Fruits from 127 flowering plants, currently stored at the lab in Chicago. These may be used in a future study on traits of stipa‘s awns.

Data collected:

  • Culm count and number of fruits recorded on visors (backed up to CGData)
  • Fruit harvest information recorded on paper (stored at Hjelm house)
  • Status of 2011 basal plants recorded on visors (backed up to as “2016stipaRecheck2011positions” in CGData)

Products:

  • Josh Drizin’s MS thesis included a section on the hygroscopicity (reaction to humidity) of stipa awns. View his presentation or watch his short video.
  • Joseph Campagna and Jamie Sauer (Lake Forest College) did a report on variation in stipa’s physical traits within and among families in 2009

 

You can find out more about stipa in the common garden and links to previous flog posts about this project on the background page for this experiment.

x-ray images

While looking for some information about the establishment of the Stipa experiment, I encountered an x-ray image of a few Stipa propagules (Hesperostipa spartea). Check it out…

 

An x-ray image of a Stipa propagule (Hesperostipa spartea)

An x-ray image of a Stipa propagule (Hesperostipa spartea)

 

I also found some x-ray images of Echinacea angustifolia achenes. There are higher resolution images than the ones we now take for data analysis.

An x-ray image of achenes & other stuff from an Echinacea angustifolia head with higher magnification

An x-ray image of achenes & other stuff from an Echinacea angustifolia head with higher magnification

 

An x-ray image of achenes & other stuff from an Echinacea angustifolia head

An x-ray image of achenes & other stuff from an Echinacea angustifolia head

An x-ray image of achenes & other stuff from an Echinacea angustifolia head

An x-ray image of achenes & other stuff from an Echinacea angustifolia head

Project status update: Hesperostipa common garden experiment

The Stipa Project — studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on the ecology and evolution of Stipa, a cool-season grass. In 2009 & 2010 we planted over 4,000 Stipa seeds in exPt 1. We’ve been put to the test trying to find our Stipa plants in a matrix of other grasses, but once they flower they are easy to spot. While we collected seed from Stipa in our common garden in 2014, our 2015 search for flowering Stipa plants was fruitless!

Read more about the Stipa experiment.
Read more about the natural history of Stipa.

Start year: 2009

Location: exPt1

 

Studly Stipa and my first tagged Echinacea!

This morning started with Jared and I doing an inventory of the Hesperostipa spartea (porcupine grass) in experimental plot 1. We are interested in determining the fitness of each H. spartea. We went to each plant found during a systematic search. We determined how many seeds were present on each culm of each plant. We counted the number of full (having a viable seed), inviable (having a seed that would not reproduce), or unknown (a glume that was empty, or peduncle that had no glume) seeds for each plant and harvested ripe seeds for later plantings. We found one studly plant that had 14 culms and 58 seeds that were ready to harvest! After experimenting with several methods of tying the immature awns together (to make sure we could find the seeds once they are mature and drop), we determined the most effective way to retain the seeds is to tie the awns together with twist ties. We hope the twist tie method allows us to harvest seeds before they disperse. We tried several other methods for tying the awns together (tying the awns to the stem, tying the awns to a red flag, and tying the awns together) but twist ties appear to work the best. In the afternoon I tagged my first Echinacea (plant 1980)!

Another Thursday on the beautiful prairie

Today the team accomplished a variety of projects. The morning began by searching for grasses in the common garden. A decent amount of grasses were located and the garden was resounding with choruses of “woots” shouted out when the grasses were located. The rest of the morning the team worked on individual projects. Throughout the day, Pam and I measured the Amax, transpiration, and conductance of echinacea plant leaves in the hybrid garden within the common garden. We managed to measure 42 plants before Helga (our fabulous machine) needed to take a rest and recharge until tomorrow. In the afternoon, more grasses searches were done. The team also ventured out to Hegg Lake to help Kory find echinacea plants about to flower in common garden 2 and to help Davis find flowering echinacea pallida plants. Overall the day was beautiful to be outside, and it was a very productive day! -Reina

Helga

More defending your thesis

I defended my thesis on May 16th, presenting the results of my research on the hygroscopic motion of big bluestem and indian grass. I’ve attached the presentation to this post, though the presentation is a bit light on text. I’m putting together a section on my website with more text, which I’ll link when it’s ready.

drizin-seeds-presentation.pdf

Hesperostipa spartea search protocol

Attached is the “weather-tested” search protocol. While my partner found more than a dozen out of 75 or so, I found two out of 100. Maybe I am not the right person to write a protocol about finding these plants.?!

It is very neat to think about these things being seedlings a year or two ago and now they are 20+ cm tall? plants that will produce seed…….sometime.
Hesperostipa spartea Search Protocol.docx

This is the 3rd summer in a row that I have taken part of the Echinacea project! I teach 9-12 sciences (10th grade Biology)at Great Plains Lutheran High in Watertown, SD. Conducting summer research is the best way to incorporate real science into my classroom! While I was a pollen collector and image maker the first summer and a pollen crosser last summer; this summer I am going to collect insects that may or may not be moving pollen. Following the floral neighborhood study of 2009, I will collect and categorize insects from different sites to make an inventory of insect life. I hope it will shed some light on exactly which insects can be found and relate it to the diversity of the plants at sites. It will also be a useful collection for my students in the future.

Stipa and the common garden

I’ve been working with the Stipa germination data we collected from the common garden over the summer for Stuart’s R class and, among other things, have come up with a little plot of the common garden. Filled-in blue circles are where we found Stipa alive, empty circles had no seedlings. A neat thing would be some kind of heat map for longest leaf or number of leaves, but I’ll try that later.

View image

Stipa tag found

Tag #1028 was just found in the ground near the SW corner of Hjelm house porch.