25 June, Sweet Clover, GPS, and Independent Projects

Our second Thursday got off to a strong start as we finished pulling sweet clover from p8. Last night’s rain meant prime clover-pulling conditions: wet and loose soil that allowed us to extract the full tap roots of the tenacious plants from the ground. Danny provided some a cappella background tunes to keep us moving through this herculean task. Despite the wet soil, there were still quite a few plants that were able to put up a good fight. Flexing my sore hands at the end of the hour or so we spent in p8, I relished the sight of all the pulled clover laid out to parch in the sun. P8 is now sweet clover free! (At least for now.)


The Team lays out sweet clover pulled from p1 to dry in the sun.

After pulling the clover we had time before lunch for a lesson in using GPS to map plants and help out with Echinacea demography. Stuart had started the day by checking the space weather–apparently a solar flare just missed us, very luckily leaving us in the clear to proceed with the Team’s two GPS machines (affectionately named Sulu and Chekov).

Using GPS to stake Echinacea plants!

Using GPS to stake Echinacea plants!

At lunch a few of us gave quick presentations about our summer project proposals, which have already made a lot of progress in the two weeks since we arrived! Some of the questions we’ll be attempting to answer this season include how aphids affect Echinacea fitness, how hybrid and native plants differ in fitness, which seed collecting methods are the most effective for species co-flowering with brome, and whether flowering phenology is heritable. Finally we got the chance to hear from professor Ruth Shaw about some of the latest work being done on analyzing the genetics of fitness in Echinacea (and other species as well!).

After this jam-packed morning, the Team got some down time to work on individual projects. I look forward to watching everyone’s research progress!




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