2021 Update: Reproductive fitness in remnants

As part of the Echinacea Project’s long-term efforts to monitor reproductive fitness in the remnant populations, Team Echinacea harvested 383 seeds heads from 29 remnants during summer 2021. We randomly selected 15 heads from each population to harvest. If a population had less than 15 flowering plants, we harvested a randomly selected head from all flowering plants. In the fragmented populations we study, flowering plants often fail to produce viable seed due to limited mating opportunities. By harvesting seed heads and quantifying seed set, we can better understand how the spatial location and flowering phenology of Echinacea contribute to reproductive fitness. We are keenly interested in understanding how fire influences reproductive outcomes in fragmented prairies. To this end, we harvested seed heads from 8 populations experimentally burned during spring 2021. We will examine how fire influences mating opportunities and seed set across different populations ranging in size.

These heads we harvested are currently in the CBG lab being cleaned by volunteers and interns. We have even started scanning and counting achenes! Soon the new x-ray will be up and running, and we will begin to answer the burning questions we have about Echinacea reproduction in fragmented prairie remnants.

Start year: 1996

Location: Roadsides, railroad rights of way, and nature preserves in and around Solem Township, MN

Overlaps with: Phenology in the Remnants

Data/Materials collected:  383 seed heads were collected; these are currently at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Data sheets and other materials can be found here: ~Dropbox/remData

Products: We will compile seed set data from 2021 into a dataset with seed set data from previous years.

You can read more about reproductive fitness in remnants, as well as links to previous flog entries mentioning the experiment, on the background page for this experiment.


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