Be the Bee

Post the Big Events you may think that the team’s trips to experimental plot two would be few and far between, well you would be mistaken. Zeke, Evan, Jennifer, and I (hereafter “Team CoWBee”) have been busy working there doing pollinator observations and a lot of painting. Today we went straight to Hegg Lake allowing us to get there while the bees were still sleeping. Zeke and Evan were busy watching the bees. Andy and Morgan joined us to work on phenology. While that was happening I was preoccupied with my independent project. What is my independent project you ask? Well, let me tell you!

Lunch with a view

In pollination biology, it is often thought that the more pollen grains a bee deposits the more efficient it is (the better it is for the plant). However, Echinacea technically only needs one pollen grain to make a seed. Once you consider that not all pollen grains are viable more than more may be necessary to ensure a seed is made. My question is how many pollen grains are necessary for there to be a 90% chance that the seed is made. How in the world am I doing this you may ask? Well, I must be the bee. Not literally but I need to deposit different amounts of pollen on styles and see if a seed is made. To deposit the pollen, I have been using toothpicks, a flosser picks, and a patience. Once I deposit the pollen I will come back remove the style allowing me to count the amount of pollen under a microscope. Today I spent the majority of the time being a bee, performing these hand crosses so that I can remove the styles tomorrow. My goal is to perform a total of 480 crosses (80 heads) (half of these are backups) today I did 54 crosses (nine heads).

Toothpicks aren’t only for hors d’oeuvres

Who uses flossers for their teeth?

A style under a microscope

Still, have a lot of work to do so until next time!



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