2022 Update: Reproductive fitness in remnants

As part of the Echinacea Project’s long-term efforts to monitor reproductive fitness in the remnant populations, we harvested 330 Echinacea seed heads from 23 remnants during summer 2022. We randomly selected 15 heads from each population where we conducted phenology. If a population had fewer 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 7 populations experimentally burned during spring 2022. We will examine how fire influences mating opportunities and seed set across different populations ranging in size. The heads harvested in 2022 are currently in the CBG lab. Volunteers and students have cleaned, rechecked, and scanned all 330 heads, and they have randomized and x-rayed 249 of the heads so far. We are making great progress!

  • 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 collected: The master data sheet of harvested heads is located here: ~Dropbox\remData\150_clean\clean2022\rem2022MasterDatasheetWithLetNos.csv
  • Samples collected: 330 seed heads were collected and are currently at the Chicago Botanic Garden lab.
  • Products: 
    • We will compile seed set data from 2022 into a dataset with seed set data from previous years.
    • Padmini, a student from Carleton College, used some of the remnant data for her externship project this winter.

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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