Project Update – Randomizing Achenes

This week I started the process of randomizing the echinacea achenes in preparation for being x-rayed. I am working with the 2022 achenes and the 2021 field data for my project to determine if health traits can be predictors of reproductive health in the following year. The purpose of randomizing the achenes is to get a sample of achenes to x-ray that is representative of the total number of achenes on that head. I start the process of randomizing with the already re-checked achene coin envelopes. The first part of the process is spreading the achenes out evenly across a circle that is sectioned off into 11 parts (on the right of the picture below). Once all of the achenes are spread out into sections, I use a random letter generator through the ACE website which gives me the two sections of achenes I am going to be working with. I move these achenes to the counting sheet (on the left of the picture below). I put the rest of the achenes back into their original coin envelope to keep them separate from the ones I am going to be sorting.  

I examine each of the achenes on the counting sheet and sort them into the bottom numbered spots if they are uninformative or into the top numbered spots if they are informative. Achenes are uninformative for x-ray if they are broken, underdeveloped, predated or ray achenes. These are deemed uninformative because they are either known to be sterile or the seed could have fallen out if the achene was crushed during the cleaning process. I then label a white coin envelope with my initials, the date, and the number of uninformative and informative achenes in the batch. I put the uninformative achenes in this envelope and use a clear plastic baggie for the informative achenes that are going to be x-rayed. I put a label on both the envelope and clear plastic baggie with the assigned head number, batch number and if they are informative or not. I record the data in the 2022 randomizing data sheets and put the coin envelopes back in their original box and the randomized ones in a new box so that they can be put on x-ray sheets during the next step. So far I have randomized 24 out of approximately 500 heads in the bbMost batch for 2022! 


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