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My first day in Chicago

Hi flog,

Instead of posting from Kensington, I’m posting today from the lab computer at the Plant Conservation Science Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This morning, I met up with Lea (who devoted flog readers will remember from the summer) and Sam, an undergraduate Biology student at Northwestern who will be working at the Garden this Fall. Sam and I were able to bond over how the bike ride from Evanston was longer than we both expected. I also got to meet Chris and several of our excellent and expert volunteers for the first time. They taught me how to dissect heads and separate the achenes from other flower-parts (the “chaff”) and gave some helpful advice from years of their own experiences. After that, Sam and Stuart brainstormed some cool projects that Sam could get involved with. I then looked at some materials for counting and classifying achenes as full, empty, or partially-full in x-ray images using an informative tutorial that Danny wrote last year. These classifications are used to estimate seed-set size, an important part of quantifying Darwinian fitness, as well as assessing the amount (or quality) of pollen these flowers are receiving.

Volunteers show Sam, Lea and me how to dissect heads and count achenes. From left, Suzanne, Bill (in back), Char, me, Art, Aldo, Sam, Lea, Suzie.

Volunteers show Sam, Lea and me how to dissect heads and count achenes. From left, Suzanne, Bill (in back), Char, me, Art, Aldo, Sam, Lea, Susie.

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