2023 Update: Dykstra’s local adaptation experiment

This experiment was designed to quantify how well Echinacea angustifolia populations are adapted to their local environments. In 2008, Amy Dykstra collected achenes from Echinacea populations in western South Dakota, central South Dakota, and Minnesota and then sowed seeds from all three sources into experimental plots near each collection site. Each year, Team Echinacea takes a demographic census at the western South Dakota and Minnesota plots; we abandoned the central South Dakota plot after it was inadvertently sprayed in 2009, killing all the Echinacea.

 In 2023, we found a total of 119 basal plants and 8 flowering plants. All of the flowering plants observed in 2023 were in the western South Dakota sowing site. Only 2 plants in the Minnesota site have ever produced flowers. In contrast, 31 plants flowered in the western South Dakota site in 2022 alone. Mortality has been much higher in Minnesota than in western South Dakota; thus, the total number of plants at each sowing site is now about equal.

Surviving plants at GRNG (Grand River National Grassland in western South Dakota) and HL (Hegg Lake in Minnesota) in annual censuses from 2014-2023.
  • Start year: 2008
  • Location: Grand River National Grassland (Western South Dakota), Samuel H. Ordway Prairie (Central South Dakota), Staffanson Prairie Preserve (West Central Minnesota), and Hegg Lake WMA (West Central Minnesota).
  • Overlaps with: Dykstra’s interpopulation crosses
  • Data collected: Plant fitness measurements (plant status, number of rosettes, number of leaves, and length of longest leaf)
  • Samples or specimens collected:  Heads from all flowering plants; Amy stores the heads in her office at Bethel University.
  • Products:  Dykstra, A. B. 2013. Seedling recruitment in fragmented populations of Echinacea angustifolia. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Minnesota. PDF

You can read more about Dykstra’s local adaptation experiment and see a map of the seed source sites on the background page for this experiment.


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