Tuesday, August 7

Hallo once again from K-town! It was yet another wonderfully nice day out in the prairie of Minnesota. This morning, Maria and Katherine headed out to the Landfill site to GPS all of the flowering plants we found earlier (about 80 of them this year). Kelly, Jill, and I headed over to Around Landfill to do demography on the plants Kelly used for her phenology project. And Shona and Andrew won (at long last) a battle with our second GPS unit (which arrived yesterday), Chekov. Chekov has come to join Sulu in our endeavors to gain coordinates. But it’s best if both work properly. Oh, and Kelly’s last plant at all her remnants finished flowering today! It’s bittersweet.
We came back to the Hjelm House later in the morning and had time to work on getting things ready and wrapped up for our poster presentations on Thursday. Yoiks! It’s coming up quick! Ruth came up with Lisa, and undergrad, and Dave, a potential post-doc for the Echinacea Project. After lunch, Dave gave us his presentation on his work with Solidago velutina (goldenrod). We then headed over to Aanenson to do demography. There were not very many flowering plants there this year, though Jill and I found a monster of one on the side of the road. We had both GPS units out with us, but we had a ton of trouble with them and were only able to GPS a few plants. We’ll just blame it on solar flares again. Once finished, we reconvened at the Hjelm House for some nummy watermelon fresh from the garden! Maria also found something interesting while we were out. We’re thinking these might be egg sacs of some sort, but we’re not quite sure.

Lydia’s poster!

Here is a link to my poster!

Recruitment thingamajiggies

So, a while back when GPS-ing the recruitment plots, there were a number of places where no nail was found in our initial survey. Here’s the list of those point numbers in the GPS:

These were supposed to have nails, but we were unable to find them.

Wednesday, August 1: Off with Its head!!!!

Might I ask how it already got to be August? Time sure seems to fly out on the prairie. To start out with, we continued doing rechecks in the Common Garden. We’ve found about 80 positions that were previously listed as Can’t Find. Yay!! The rest of the morning was spent on individual projects. Katherine worked on her aphid survey in the Common Garden, Jill continued to ID ants from her pitfall traps, and Stuart talked to Andrew, Shona, and I about doing glm’s (generalized linear models) on our data. Hooray for stats! The battle with R continues, though Kelly beat it by producing a pretty snazzy graph.

Now for the good part (not that other things weren’t good, but you’ll see what I mean). This afternoon, we started harvesting echinacea heads. If the head looked ready (as in pretty much everything on the plant by the head is brown), we chopped it off in an organized fashion and placed each head in a labeled bag.

Here’s a picture of us harvesting!
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On a more displeasing note, that tick of ours is STILL alive and kicking. Or waving. Or whatever.

In the evening, the Wagenii made an appearance at Town Hall to watch the Bee Movie. It was enjoyed by all!

Wednesday, July 25

As dawn broke on yet another day in Kensingtonville, Team Echinacea arose to a dark sky producing ominous rumbles of thunder. An occasional pitter-patter turned into a steady fall of condensed water vapor. The team members wearily turned to each other and half-heartedly debated whether to arrive at base per normal routine. Some, namely Katherine, Jill, and Greg, decided that it would be best to separate from the rest of the crew for a while and work under the grey skies above. Those who remained in the heart of Kensingtonville hurriedly tried to edit abstracts whilst waiting for the skies to be more favorable. After a few dreary hours, sunrays started to peek through the clouds, and then suddenly burst out with blinding brilliance, stunning those indoors. After the initial shock of seeing sunshine, select members of the crew finished their abstracts and drifted off into the land of unicorns and chocolate chip cookies.

After lunch, the two parts of the crew decided that it would be in our best interest to come back together and work as a brave platoon to conquer the plot that is Caroline’s, over yonder at Hegg Lake. After a few encounters with fierce toothpicks and cardinal directions, Team Echinacea prevailed!! (And finished early. Woohoo!!)
Team Echinacea has taken on another difficult task: the task of mastering the Dread Pirate R. And his crew of R.O.U.S.’s (R-scripts Of Unusual Size). R comes to you at night and steals your sanity. But only part of it. There’s a big difference. The crew has differing opinions about R:

Those who don’t mind it too much:

And those who mind it quite a bit:

On the brighter side of the spectrum, the crew finished the day early, and therefore had more time to lounge around/nap/work on projects. A few decided to go for a swim in the great Elk Lake before dinner (which was quite nice, if I might say so myself).

So much data!!!!

Here is a link to a csv of my data sheet!

And also, here’s the script that I used in R.
Compatibility script.r.txt

July 19, 2012

Imagine walking into a foggy wonderland where all you can hear is the sound of birds, frogs, and the occasional drip of water. Well, you should be jealous because that’s where we spent our morning: Hegg Lake!
We spent the entire morning measuring Jennifer’s plot, and we are nearly halfway done (I think). Take that, echinacea!
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This afternoon after lunch, Jennifer gave us her presentation on her work with assortative mating based on phenology. Stuart then briefed us on doing demography in the remnants, where we find all of this year’s flowering plants and record data on them and then GPS their coordinates.
And now most of us are sitting around as we eagerly await an all-Amerrrrrican dinner of mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, veggies, and apple crisp lovingly prepared by Kelly and Andrew! Nom nom nom….

Lydia’s project proposal

Pardon the belated appearance of my proposal on the flog, but here it is!
Proposal draft 2.pdf

Thursday, July 12

Today most of us started out doing phenology in the Common Garden. Phenology is starting to go much quicker. Hooray! The rest of the morning was spent working on individual projects. Most projects are drawing to a close already. Time sure flies! Jill spent the morning identifying the species she collected from her pitfall traps in the remnants. Maria was found over at Hegg Lake collecting seeds and anthers. She also looked at some dicanthelium at other sites and discovered that they were all mostly done flowering. Kelly and I spent the morning out at our remnants doing phenology and finishing up my experiment. I assessed my last cross for the summer! Some of my crosses were flops due to the caterpillars that ate my anthers and styles. Meanies. How to tell they are there? They leave a TON of frass everywhere.

In the afternoon, we continued to measure plants in the Common Garden. Maybe we’re halfway there? We’ve nonetheless become pros at measuring echinacea. Bring it on!!

Tuesday, July 3

Who needs a sauna when you have the great outdoors? Yes, it was another hot and sticky day in Kensington, and we took it on and beat it. This morning, Katherine, Jill, and Lydia went to several remnants while Katherine used Sulu, the GPS, to find last year’s and this year’s flowering plants to use for ant and aphid surveys, and Lydia performed crosses on several plants at East Elk Lake Road and Around Landfill. Bug Catcher Kelly and Bug Catcher Andrew used Sweepnet in the Common Garden to collect pollinators. It was super effective! Shona and Maria were found over at Hegg Lake performing/analyzing crosses on echinacea and dicanthelium. This afternoon (or rather, last afternoon), a number of us continued measuring all the plants in the Common Garden. We’re 1/4 done!!!