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Final Flog – Eli Arbogast

Three weeks have gone by fast! It’s pretty incredible how much we were able to fit into such a short time span. 

Our first week was spent getting introduced to the center and the work happening here. We met lots of people as well as lots of lab equipment! We learned how data collection happens for the study of Echinacea, by completing a large set of Echinacea achene counting using new study protocols. This study will hopefully yield interesting insights into how Echinacea plants develop and utilize resources. We also learned how XRays are used and processed (RIP to the XRay machine, gone but not forgot), and spent some time helping organize Echiachea heads for later use. 

Our second week, we continued the organization and processing of Echinacea data but also began to develop our own research inquires, based on our own personal interests and the data we had to work with. We all chose very different focuses, mine being a focus on long-term analysis of pollinator diversity and abundance measures, or “How are bee populations changing over time in the Echinacea fields?”

Bee samples that provided me with data for my work

Our third week, we focused in on our projects. Locating and processing my pollinator data took a good deal of time, so I spent a good chunk of the week processing this data as well as learning R, a widely applicable skill for someone interested in science. While I still have a lot of questions and things I’d like to explore further, I am very happy with what I was able to accomplish given the time constraints. Please see my attached presentation below for more detail and major takeaways! 

I would like to give a huge thank you to Stuart, Erin, and Riley, who made this entire experience possible. They helped us pretty much every step of the way, whether it was practicing our ‘ABTs’s, scanning seeds, or learning R from the ground up. I am very happy to have had such a productive and fulfilling winter break and look forward to more breaks, and more work like it. 

I have very much enjoyed my time here, and after 3 weeks of work am looking forward to the holidays with family, and sleeping in past 6am! 

Til next time Flog, 

Eli  

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