Meet Tate!

Tate is interning with us in November with his classmates from Lake Forest College. We’re excited to have his help around lab!

Tate, happy to see a scan with barely any chaff! Nice work, cleaners!


I’m Tate Rosenhagen, a junior biology major at Lake Forest College doing a four week mini internship at the Chicago Botanical Garden for a Plant Biology course. It’s my second week in the Echinacea lab, coming in once a week for four hours, and this week I’m learning how to count achenes and randomize samples! Last week I learned a lot of the background of the Echinacea project; what an achene is, how to remove the achenes from the flower head, and a little bit about Echinacea and their pollinators. One of the questions I hope to answer while I’m here is if there is a relationship between seed number and average seed weight in Echinacea. I hypothesized that in heads with fewer seeds, the average seed weight should be higher as all of the plants are in the same experimental plot and thus are subject to the same conditions and nutrients. If the plants have roughly the same amount of nutrients and conditions, theoretically plants should use the same amount of energy as their neighbors. Therefore, I hypothesized that if one plant has created fewer achenes than another plant, their achenes may have more nutrients in their endosperm thus leading to a higher weight. However, a number of factors could cause plants to use their energy in places other than their seeds, such as damage repair on the plant itself or stem growth. I hope that some of the data I find while I’m here will begin to answer this question, however, only being here once a week for four weeks limits how much data I am able to collect.

Tate Rosenhagen

Tate searches for the answer!


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