At last, Dayvis returned to Chicago

After leaving June first to the Societyy of Wetland Scientists conference at Duluth, MN, I am definitely returning to the coolest city in this country “My sweet home Chicago” today. It has been a very interesting and special summer for me. I have had tons of good experiences. I certainly had the best experiences in the Star of the North (Minnesota). Specifically, with the Echinacea Project. Thanks guys of the Echinacea team 2013, Gretel, Stuart, and family.
On August 26th, Marie and me had the opportunity of sharing our respective research in the Field Museum of Chicago. We found a very receptive audience for the Echinacea project. I had good amount of very interesting questions. Overall, people liked the fact that several students have been working in research that complement each other. This is the case of Shona in 2012 with Marie and me in 2013.
Now, I am preparing to present this research again in my university symposium on September 20th and as a poster presentation at the SACNAS National conference at San Antonio TX next on October 4th.
Again, Thank you very much to everybody who is or has been part of this fascinating enterprise called the Echinacea project

Friday Second of August

Today, we pollinated flowers in the common garden during the entire morning. Afternoon we kept pollinating with simultaneous phenology in the same garden.
After almost an entire month of observation (start date: July 7th) and over 3700 minutes of pollination observation. Today was the last flowering day of the last head of the Echinacea pallida population I have been observing during this summer at the Hegg Lake Wildlife Management Area. it has been an amazing and unique experience to learn so much about these beautiful plants and their pollinators. I would like to make an especial mention to these wonderful insects called pollinators. Undoubtedly, they are the most interesting, beautiful, and beneficial creatures we have in these prairies. Although I will keep observing the flowering phenology of the remaining angustifolia that are close to finish flowering soon, today I finished my pollinator observation. Thanks to this project now I have a much better understanding and appreciation for this pollinator-plant relationship. How crucial this relationship is for them as well as for the total ecosystem in general. It has been a real good experience (I am missing it already).
Last flowering head of the Echinacea paliida polulation at Hegg Lake

Saturday 13th of 2013

Due to last night stormy weather, most of us could not keep collecting data as in previous days. Marie could not measure her plants; Kory and I did not observe as many pollinators as normally we do. Only Sarah B. maintained her data collection immutable. Consequently, I went to the Hjelm house to start pinning the pollinators that I have been collecting since Sunday. After Jennifer and Stuart explained the principles of pinning insects, I could pinned fourteen of the twenty one insect collected during this week. Definitely, it will facilitate identification of pollinators enormously.

Personally, this week was a very revealing week for me since I had the opportunity of witness the presence of the three species of echinacea in this region. Since my research involve the interaction among these species of echinacea, I have been very involved in observe the flowering and the location of the different species in this area. Thus, introduced Echinacea pallida started flowering (White pollen) at the Hegg Lake on Sunday while native angustifolia did the same on Tuesday (Yellow pollen).

After looking for four times, I finally found echinacea purpurea in a restored prairie at the 27 road. Although I am really interested in including this other introduced echinacea species in my pollinator and phenology research, it has been really hard to reach and effectively located the entire population of this type of echinacea. For now, I just got a picture of an almost ready to flower individual of Echinacea purpurea.


Rainy Tuesday

Echinacea pallida started flowering on Sunday. Since then I have been able to observe, collect, and film the different species of insects that pollinate this plant. It has been such a wonderful experience to work surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the Hegg Lake Wildlife Management Area. I am so excited to start getting data that will elucidate the real possibilities of hybridization between Echinacea pallida and Echinacea angustifolia.

Even though I was more than ready to have my second full morning of pollinator observation today, the rainy-windy-cloudy conditions changed my plans. Instead, I reunited with my fellows of the team echinacea to flag and twist-tie flowering heads at the common garden one. At the same time, Sarah Sakura Baker was observing flowering Echinacea angustifolia for her independent project. Later, we went to the common garden two to keep measuring the Echinacea population located there. We just completed the first thirty of eighty rows. We expect to finish them by the end of this week. Today, Lydia could spend her entire afternoon working in her aphid’s research.

First Day of the Week-First Day of the Month

Perfect weather! Just like my home country (beautiful).

Today morning, we searched for Stipa grass and flowering Echinacea (My favorite task) in the common garden. Afternoon, we searched for more Stipa grass. Then, we worked in our projects. Marie received a scan and starting playing with it. Lydia continued her work with aphids. I received my cameras and started practicing the difficult art of insect hunting. Kory was preparing his cameras to identify pollinators, and Sara B. was checking status of plants in several sites of the area. We ended the day eating a delicious chili prepared by Ilse.
Sunday I found a Echinacea pallida very close to flower at Hegg Lake, I will checked it tomorrow. Maybe, my time to start getting data is tomorrow. Inshallah!

Dayvis Blasini Research Proposal

Echinacea Project Research ProposalPDF.docx.pdf

Dayvis Blasini’s Introduction

I am an undergraduate student from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). Although I was born and raised in Venezuela (South America), I consider the American Midwest my home. Due to the high degree of anthropogenic disturbances in this region, I am very interested in studying its ecology. Particularly, I am interested in the effect that invasive species and habitat fragmentation has in native species and communities
During these the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity of experience the American prairie as never before. I have discovered a new entire world of colors and shapes. Even though there are only remnants of prairie, it is really impressive the beauty of this type of habitat.
I have been exposed to a lot of wonderful experiences. Since searching adult, juvenile, seedlings, and flowering plants to mapping sites and operating GPS.

As an independent project, I will determine the likelihood of hybridization between echinacea angustifolia and echinacea pallida (maybe purpurea too)in nature. In order to do that, I will have to determine if there is synchrony between them and at what level this different species of plants share pollinators. It will promise to be an interesting and wonderful summer for me in this beautiful state. IMG_0447.JPG