Keke and q3 wrap-up

Keke hard at work counting the q3 offspring

Keke hard at work counting the q3 offspring

Keke is a senior Environmental Studies major at Lake Forest College who has been working in the lab for the past semester. For her project, she focused on the maternal plants of qGen_3. In that experiment, we crossed individuals in p1 with pollen collected from plants at Staffanson and Landfill during the summer and planted the seeds from those crosses in the fall. When dissecting the heads, we only selected achenes that we knew had been crossed properly.

This left ray achenes and achenes that may have been contaminated with other pollen, plus any achenes that we missed! Although we didn’t want to plant inviable or contaminated achenes, knowing the fecundity of the maternal plants is an important part of estimating fitness, so we wanted to have accurate achene counts for each mom. This is where Keke comes in. She removed all of the “extra” achenes and counted them, along with the rest of the maternal achenes which had been scanned in the fall.

Keke also analyzed the effect of a new pollen management procedure that we followed for q3. This procedure involved collecting pollen in multiple vials and taking care to only remove a vial from the refrigerator for crossing once. This was in an effort to reduce exposure of pollen to repeated warming and cooling cycles, which we thought might have reduced its viability in q2. Keke assessed the percent of successful crosses in q2 versus q3 and found that the percent of successful crosses increased 5% with the new procedure. Cool!

You can read more about what Keke did this winter and spring in her report, which can be found here:

Keke’s Q3 Report

Thanks Keke and best of luck in all of your future endeavors!


Will’s achenes–Are they alive?

Photos of the sheets of sticky notes containing achenes (Echinacea fruits) that Will dissected at the U of Minnesota and that Jared will x-ray at the Chicago Botanic Garden this afternoon.

Will used freeze-dried pollen to pollinate the flowers that produced these fruits. During the summer styles of those flowers shriveled shortly after Will deposited pollen, providing evidence that the pollen was still alive. More backstory.

Do these these achenes contain embryos? We’ll find out this afternoon.

Live Science in real time!




Project status update: Pollen longevity

Description: During the summer of 2014, Will Reed designed and executed an experiment to measure the efficacy of various pollen storage methods including storing pollen at room temperature, in refrigeration, and freeze-drying pollen. Between July 14 and August 8, he collected pollen from 15 different plants and performed a total of 186 hand pollinations on 50 plants. These results will improve pollen storage practices and expand the capability to cross plants that flower asynchronously or potentially in different years.

Start year: 2014

Location: P1

Products: A dataset and detailed methods are located in Will Reed’s Dropbox folder. Dataset needs to be made readyR.

We harvested the heads Will used as pollen recipients. He could remove the achenes to see if his crosses produced viable seeds.

Will Reed – Introduction

I graduated from Jefferson High School in June, and I will be attending the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities next fall. This is my first real research experience but last summer I spent some time with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the University of St. Thomas doing some work with stable isotope ecology.

This summer I plan to study pollen longevity and determine a method for long term storage of the pollen. I am also very excited to work with other team members and help with their projects.

I am incredibly excited to be a member of Team Echinacea 2014, I think it is going to be an amazing experience and I am going to be working with some very awesome people! you can learn more about me at my page on the Echinacea Project website.