2016 update: Amy D’s interpopulation crosses

Inbreeding has negative effects on Echinacea, leading to reduced survival and fitness. In isolated populations, populations could benefit from genetic diversity introduced by mating with individuals from other populations (“outcrossing”). However, gene flow from other populations may compromise a population’s adaptation to its local environment. Amy Dykstra designed an experiment to test how mating with individuals from other populations affects Echinacea fitness. In the summer of 2008, Amy and Team Echinacea performed 259 crosses between individuals randomly selected from 6 of the largest remnant populations. That fall, Amy planted the offspring of these crosses (15,491 achenes) into an experimental plot at Hegg Lake WMA.

Every summer, including 2016, we measure plant status, number of rosettes, number of leaves, and length of the longest leaf of the individuals in the plot. We also note damage (herbivory) to the leaves.


Hegg Lake WMA (Amy’s plot is visible on the horizon to the right of the lake)

Start year: 2008

Location: Hegg Lake WMA

Overlaps with: Dykstra’s local adaptation

Data collected: We collected plant fitness measurements (plant status, number of rosettes, number of leaves, and length of longest leaf) electronically.

GPS points shot: We shot points at all surviving plants (and a few that we couldn’t find this year, but will check next year) in the experimental plot, which will make finding and monitoring these plants much more efficient in the future. The points are stored in ‘AMYSCROSSIG_20160712_SULU.tsj’ and some rechecks to those points are in “AMYSCROSSING_20160830_SULU.tsj’.

Products: Read about Amy’s analysis of the interpopulation crossing experiment in her flog post from last summer.

You can find more information about Amy’s experiment and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.


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