Early 2010 census on Local Adaptation experiment

Yesterday, Janelle G. and Shelby F. helped me do the May census on the Hegg Lake plot of my local adaptation experiment. There were some surprises, including 3 or 4 NEW seedlings!
Another surprise was a visit from this fawn.

Another interesting discovery was a cluster of egg sacs. Anybody know what critter would leave these?
Today and tomorrow we plan to census the two South Dakota plots that are part of this experiment.

Seedling searches at Hegg Lake

The classic seedling search position.

Young Echinacea seedling–cotyledons only.

Larger seedling with a true leaf.

We marked seedlings with colored toothpicks, so we can re-find them in August, and again next summer. I hope to be able to learn about initial seedling establishment as well as seedling survival through the first two seasons.

Seedling search at Hegg Lake

Amy and I have been out at Hegg Lake since Tuesday afternoon, searching low and lower for Echinacea seedlings in my small “next generation genetic rescue” experiment and Amy’s crossing and local adaptation experiments. We’re finding quite a few seedlings- they’re mostly just cotyledons (some amazingly with their little seed coats still attached) and about a quarter have put out their first true, very fuzzy leaf. Without the true leaves, the seedlings can be tricky to tell apart from the seedlings of one or two other species, but we’ve developed a fairly good search image and are making notes of questionable identifications.
Mode number of seedlings for each “position,” that is a batch of 5-40 achenes sown: 0
Maximum seedlings found in a position in my experiment: 12
Maximum seedlings found in a position in Amy’s experiment: 10
I’ll also brag and mention that today I found the seedling with the longest true leaf so far at 42 mm. Looked to me like the plucky guy was flipping the bird. Ah, Amy and I certainly do succeed at keeping ourselves and each other entertained.
We completed searches for my experiment on Tuesday, made it through the crossing experiment Wednesday and today and plan to finish up with the local adaptation experiment tomorrow. Photos are forthcoming.