Status update on the interspecific competition experiment!

The seeds were pulled out of their pre-treatment and were moved into the growth chamber for germination to take place. After 5 days, a handful of E.canadensis were germinating, along with B. kalmii at a close behind rate. P. virgatum has yet to germinate, though at this time it’s still early. After filling three 20×10 flats with soilless soil, prior to removing the seeds from cold stratification, the cells (tiny plots on flat) where numbered in preparation of seed transport. By choosing soilless soil I can ensure a uniform system of adequate water retention and proper drainage. As a method for watering, my mentor Stuart has suggested to bottom-water the plants to avoid dampening one area of soil more than another area, which can occur when watering from above. By using sterilized tweezers, I carefully selected a germinating seed from a randomly ordered petri dish. Once the radical was successfully extracted from the agar, the seed was planted into its designated cell. Before transportation took place, I created a few randomizing sheets on an application called R. The sheets randomized the petri dish order, as well as the treatment (species vs. species) placement. The reason we want the order of everything to be randomized is to avoid any biased decisions. This also helps to yield accurate results. I was able to plant over 100 treatments this past week for E. canadensis and B. kalmii. I’m hoping this week P. virgatum will begin germinating.

With that said, the next phase has begun- measurements of growth. To reiterate the purpose of this experiment, I will observe the growth of each species in relation to the species it’s competing with for resources such as water, root space, and light. I will do this by measuring their height on a weekly basis. I want to determine which species will be the most dominant in this early stage of development. On Friday, I started measuring my little sprouts. The tallest I have observed so far has grown to 70 mm. 🙂

This process is very exciting, as I’ve mentioned before. To be able to plan something out so specifically detailed and to watch the process actually happen is nothing short of magical 🙂 It’s really fascinating to watch these little seeds germinate into such beautiful green sprouts!

Elymus canadensis germinating

Bromus kalmii germinating

Carefully transporting germinated seeds into their randomly assigned cell

sprouting and reaching for light 🙂




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