Extreme Project: X-Ray

Howdy all you Flog Followers,

I have returned from summer break and feel more ready than ever to dive back into the Extremes Project!

Once all the achenes were randomized, I moved on to the next step: X-Raying all of the achenes.

First, I put all of the informative achenes, in the clear plastic bags, onto a gridded sheet. On the sheet, the achenes are placed in numerical order. This keeps the x-ray process fast and easy to follow.

Image 1:

Next, I took all of the sheets into the lab room with the X-ray machine and computer.

Process for one scan (one scan = one sheet of paper, as seen in Image 1):

  • Uncover and Turn on the X-ray machine, Scanner, and Computer and ensure that they are all set up properly.
  • Block off the red lights that create a grid of lines within the x-ray machine. This is to avoid any visual obstructions. I used sticky notes (easily removable).
  • Put the sheet of achenes and the film sheet (the Echinacea Project team has a personal, newer sheet to use!) into the x-ray machine, make sure to line up properly within the tape marks on the bottom of the machine and close the door completely.
  • Run the x-ray by pressing the appropriate buttons on the computer.
  • After a handful of seconds (I believe 15 seconds) the x-ray is complete.
  • Next, move onto the Scanning Machine.
  • Remove the film sheet from the x-ray machine and put it into the scanner. To initiate the scan, film sheet will require some accurate alignment and positioning into the machine.
  • Once complete, the scan will show up on the computer! The scan will look similar to Image 2.
  • It’s key to check the quality of the x-ray, if achenes are too difficult to see a new x-ray should be performed.
  • Crucial!! Be sure to save each x-ray to the appropriate folder !!
  • Before leaving, make sure to remove the sticky notes, power off all of the machines, and put the covers back onto the machines. Essentially, leave the space as you found it, or cleaner!

Image 2:

In this image there are four separate bags of achenes. Even within these four bags there is a large difference to the number of seeds found in each bag. Of the cluster of achenes on the bottom right, the majority of those achenes are full with seeds (the opaque white filling). However, directly above on the top right, all of the achenes are empty.

I am excited to see all of the variation amongst this seed set and will be moving onto analysis in the next few weeks!

Till next time folks,

Nicolette McManus



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