Seed germination experiment

In fall 2022, we planted Echinacea within our study site for the seed addition experiment. In the lab, we are currently doing a germination experiment with the same batch of seeds to calculate the expected seed germination rates under ideal conditions. Following our standard germination protocol, we first treat the achenes with Florel solution and put them in a cold fridge with low light levels to mimic winter conditions. After 14 days, we transfer them to a warm, bright environment to germinate.

The seeds generally don’t start to germinate until they are in the warm environment. This year, however, I checked on the seeds a few days after they went into the fridge and discovered that they were already starting to sprout! The condenser on the fridge had broken, so it was no colder than room temperature. In spite of the unusual conditions, ~80% of the seeds germinated. This is very encouraging since it means that the seeds that we planted in the fall were viable.

After fixing the fridge, we are germinating a second batch of seeds following the standard protocol so we can replicate the experiment next spring. Lindsey planted the seeds that germinated, and we plan to grow them into plugs and transplant them this summer.


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