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Riley’s P7 Physiology Update

Hello Echinacea Project readers! My personal project is actively taking place in experimental plot 7, a hybrid plot planted in fall of 2013. The primary purpose of the plot is to assess relative survival and fitness in Echinacea angustifolia and pallida, as well as hybrids of the two species. Data on survival, number of leaves, and size of these plants has been collected over the years. I will be using this data in an aster analysis to determine which cross type is the most fit. Unfortunately, only one individual has flowered over the time this plot has been around, and it was a pure E. pallida. From preliminary looks at the data, conspecific angustifolia seem to have the lowest survivorship and have the smallest average leaf length!

 

The other part of my project is assessing the physiology of these plants. For this, I have been using a Licor Li-6400xt, which can assess rate of carbon assimilation as well as transpiration (loss of water) in leaves. Getting the machine to work properly on Echinacea leaves took a ton of stress and time from me, but luckily it is up and running now. Using these measures can hopefully give us insight into why pure angustifolia crosses have lower survival than others. As I post this, I have made many observations on what factors affect photosynthetic rate the most in the plants. More shaded, thinner, lighter leaves, and partially consumed leaves all seem to display lower efficiency! I am really excited to integrate all of this data and ultimately analyze it!

Taking apart the Licor chamber to get it to work on Echinacea leaves… This was stressful.

A tiny basal Echinacea in pt7. The variation is incredible!

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