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until next year

There was one project we did not get to this year. In the summer of 2012, field intern Kelly Kapsar observed flowering times for Echinacea in burned and unburned areas of the Staffanson prairie preserve. At the end of the summer, she collected the flowering heads in order to assess the relationship between flowering time and seed set. Various students have worked on aspects of the project. In November, Mindy Runge and Ale Mendoza (Lakeforest College) extracted and weighed achenes (click here to see their poster). In December, Marie Schaedel (Carleton College) weighed additional achenes and assessed our methods of judging whether an achene is full or empty (click here to read her results ). Most recently, Jill Pastick (Lakeforest College) finished extracting achenes and helped organize the collection.

These steps (extracting and weighing achenes) allow us to draw a relationship between flowering time and seed set (i.e. the proportion of full vs. empty achenes). The next step of this study will be to germinate the achenes and plant them in the field. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until next year. In the meantime, the collection of weighed and organized achenes will be stored in the freezer.

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