Hello my Big BlueFamily, sorry for my lack of an update last week! Totally slipped my mind. Weighing is done, and the dataset is almost ready, I’m super excited!! People were kind enough to finish weighing for me because I am highly allergic to my study species…. oh well. We are moving on to concreting the question I want to ask and my hypothesis. Currently I have two different questions that I need to decide between. One is looking at the impact of black smut fungus on reproductive effort as measured by seed output, and the other is looking at the difference in black smut fungus’ impact on plant health between low and high density areas. There’s a lot of variables here that I need to figure out, like how pollination impacts seed output, as well. Next week I believe the dataset will be ready and I will be able to start my analysis, which is exciting!

See y’all next week Big Bluefam.


Update 2: Andropogon Awesomeness!!

Hello one and all and welcome back to my (India’s) research progress! This week I’ve made a lot of progress: I finished cleaning all the Andropogon samples and weighed about 100 samples today. I also have learned a bit of R! I now know how to make a histogram, a bar graph, a scatter plot, a box plot, a density plot , and learned much more about coding formatting and different statistical visualizations! I’m having a surprising amount of fun with it– my dad’s a programmer, so I guess coding is in my blood… or so I hope. I think my daily bagel intake helps significantly. Still recovering from a mild head injury and I am also allergic to my study species (that’s some gallows irony right there…) so things aren’t perfectly smooth, but I’m having a great time here at the gardens and am super excited to continue with my work!

Tune in next week for part 3! I will be done with weighing by then!

India’s Project Update!

Hello dear readers… today I am updating everyone on my new project on Andropogon gerardii, or Big Bluestem! I finally have a direction that I would like to go in, which is studying the black smut fungus (Sorosporium provinciale) and whether plants that have been exposed to controlled burns have greater resistance to the fungus, as monitored by reproductive effort! Today I also started learning R, which is something very new to me, as I’ve never coded before. I’m excited! I’ll be using the homework assignments of our dear team member Lena, thanks to her fall quarter stats class. I’m almost done with cleaning all of the Andropogon samples, and then will move on to weighing. I look forward to updating everybody next week!

India Wade

Hi all!

My name is India Wade, and I am a Junior at Northwestern University in Evanston. I’m studying Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Conservation. I’m working with the Echinacea project to complete a 398 independent study course, hopefully culminating in my own research project!

I’m from Sebastopol, California, which is about an hour north of San Fransisco, so I’m intimately familiar with wildfire ecology from a first hand perspective. While with the Echinacea project, I’m interested in learning more about fire ecology in a prairie environment, and am also interested in studying big blue stem (andropogon gerardi) as well as pollinator interactions (so, a little bit of everything).

I’m excited to get to know everybody here and learn more about prairie ecology, and hopefully make a difference in our conservation efforts!

See you soon!