Despite the heat and humidity, Friday was yet another productive field day for Team Echinacea.

This morning everyone worked on their individual projects. Since my pitfall traps are ready to go, Greg and I placed pollinator traps on different prairie remnants. Pollinator traps are these nifty –and apparently hard to come by– yellow bowls that you fill with soapy water. Traveling from remnant to remnant, we also discovered that there’s a giant hole where the landfill prairie remnant used to be…
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Later this morning, equipped with buckets as chairs, Greg and I headed up to one of the hills around Hegg Lake to observe some large soil-nesting bees. After an hour of watching, we saw two bees land in different holes, but no bees emerge. We’re not sure whether these bees are solitary or eusocial.

I also scored some pictures of the arthropod life on Echinacea heads.

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Here is the “fuzzy” Echinacea head from the Kittleson roadside. Echinacea styles typically shrivel when successfully pollinated and persist when unpollinated or pollinated with incompatible pollen. In the case of this poor plant, the “fuzziness” is caused by all of the styles persisting, indicating that this plant hasn’t been successfully pollinated yet.
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After lunch, the team trekked out to the common garden (C1) to measure Echinacea that had been planted in previous years. Measuring each plant year after year gives us a sense of the fitness of the individuals. We recorded things like the number of basal rosettes, number of basal leaves, as well as the length of the longest leaf, insect presence, among a slew of other characteristics.

Greg and I took off a bit early from measuring to go collect the pollinators from the traps we set out earlier in the morning. Also, Shona made a beetle friend! We’re still trying to figure out what exactly this little guy is and I’ll post it once we figure it out.
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I realize that most of these pictures are sideways and I don’t know how to fix it at the moment. All of them were rotated the right way when I uploaded them…go figure.


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