2022 Update: Pollen addition and exclusion

Reproduction in plants can be limited by access to pollen and resources. We previously found that Echinacea plants in the remnants are pollen limited, meaning that if they had access to more pollen, they would produce more seeds. However, the long-term effects of pollen limitation are unknown. Do plants that are super pollen saturated and have high amounts of pollen have a higher lifetime fitness than plants that are pollen limited? Also, we know that the plants in the remnants are pollen limited, but are the plants in the common garden environment also pollen limited? To answer these questions and more, 10 years ago Gretel randomly selected 38 plants from experimental plot 1; half of these plants were randomly assigned to the pollen addition group, and the others were assigned to pollen exclusion. Every year, plants in the pollen exclusion have their heads bagged and they are not pollinated, while we hand cross every style in the pollen addition group (See photos for reference).

In the summer of 2022, 24 of the original 38 plants were found to be living. 6 plants of the addition group were flowering with a total of 17 heads. They received hand pollination throughout their flowering time. 6 plants of the exclusion group were flowering and they received pollinator exclusion bags to remain un-pollinated during their flowering time.

  • Start year: 2012
  • Location: exPt 1
  • Specimens collected: 64 heads were harvested from the addition, exclusion and control group in the 2022 field season.
  • Data collected: Plant survival and measurements were recorded as part of our annual surveys in P1 and eventually will be found in the R package EchinaceaLab. Data sheets were scanned and entered and can be found here: “~/Dropbox/CGData/115_pollenLimitation/pollenLimitation2022”

You can find more information about the pollen addition and exclusion experiment and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.


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