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Q3 Day 3

Today we began by presenting some of our independent projects to the group. Alex presented his proposal about studying the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on native solitary bees. His study will analyze soil samples from several of our plots in addition to a behavioral study on the bees. Alex is very excited to be one of the first researchers to look at the effects of pesticides on solitary bees because so much research has been solely focused on honey bees. Alyson taught us about bogs and invasive species. There is approximately 10 acres of bog behind the farmhouse that Alyson is going to use to examine the impacts that non native buckthorn has on the bog ecosystem. She will remove buckthorn from half of her plots and compare them at the end of the season to the untouched plots. Assessing leaf litter, nitrogen levels, sunlight, and soil pH are some of the possible measures Alyson wants to use to compare the two. I presented my project which looks at how pollinator behavior towards Echinacea changes over the flowering season in a community context. I will be looking at the co-flowering densities throughout Echinacea‘s flowering period and comparing this to the pollen loads of several native bees. By collecting bees from several taxa, removing their pollen loads, and analyzing under a microscope I hope to determine what ratios of co-flowering pollen to Echinacea pollen is being carried and how this changes over time. I will also be conducting a behavioral study in which I observe what flower pollinators visit before and after visiting an Echinacea flower.

After our presentations we went out to Q3 to mark seedlings. It was a beautiful sunny day which a cool breeze, perfect for searching for Echinacea! We recorded seedling position in order to update our GPS coordinates, leaf height, and presence of cotyledons. The tallest seedlings we found were 9cm tall, one section had 8 seedlings present! We will return to Q3 tomorrow to continue our data collection and marking. This project will allow us to test Fischer’s Fundamental Theorem of Evolution in nature.

echinacea project

Gretel and Alyson record Echinacea seedling data in Q3

Other notable events from June 16, 2016:

  • We saw a bald eagle fly over us at Q3 and a vulture almost preyed on us. While there is a fine line between speed and accuracy in data collection, the vulture realized we were all alive and moving fast enough.
  • I encountered my first tick and James taught me how to sex them, it was a female and I was not bitten.
  • Jennifer left for the Evolution Conference in Texas and we all wish her the best of luck!

 

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1 comment to Q3 Day 3

  • Laura Leventhal

    All three of you have such interesting proposals! Leah, I am really looking forward to your results and how pollen loads will change not only throughout the season but also among pollinators.

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