Back to Douglas Co

Members of team Echinacea went back to Minnesota to do some final field work and winterization of our field station. We had fantastic weather for field work but northerly winds brought chilly temps by the end of the week and reminded us that winter is near . Here are some updates from all we got done these past few days!

Seed Add

 We added seeds to 84 experimental transects at 36 sites for our seed addition experiment, which measures the effects of prescribed fire on seedling germination and emergence in Echinacea. We made quick work and were able to get this done in just 1 day plus an extra morning!

Here is Wyatt sprinkling E. angustifolia achenes along our seed addition transects.

Prescribed Burning and Broadcasting Seed

We got two solid days of good burn weather– more than any of us predicted! Over this window we burned six units, including the production plot, a few oak litter areas, Jean’s prairie garden, and the southeast hill. After all this burning, we broadcasted native seed collected by the team this summer. We’re excited to see what happens in these units next year!

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Jean’s prairie garden burned in ~5 minutes
Jared gets our 1st burn started
Wyatt broadcasts seed into this freshly burned unit

Return Achenes to Remnants

Every summer we harvest a subset of Echinacea heads from remnant sites to assess fitness. In order to ensure that we are not disrupting these populations, we later return the achenes to their maternal plants in a way that mimics natural dispersal. On this trip, we visited many small sites, where this process is essential as well as a few bigger ones.

Woody Encroachment Pilot

I tested out methods for my research project looking at the effects of Sumac encroachment on Echinacea fitness and mortality. I collected height and spatial location information on Sumac plants in order to quantify encroachment. In an encroached site like Tower, this process was no walk in the park…

Here I am staking to one of my random points

Post- Summer Sleuthing

When mistakes during summer data collection happen, it takes some investigating to figure out where we went wrong. On this trip, we revisited plants with issues from demographic data collection AND we found a P02 plant that was never harvested during the summer!

Abby & Wyatt solve mysteries in the field!


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