Summiting Mountains (of data) on the Prairie

I can’t believe how quickly the past eight weeks have passed. Both my fellow Team Echinacea crewmembers and I have had great successes with our group and individual projects.

In exciting individual project news, Keaton and I have finished collecting observation data for my pollinator efficiency project! We were able to record over 175 visits, more than triple the number recorded last year. The work isn’t over yet though, as we still have to re-watch and re-name files for over 175 visits and analyze a (beautiful and majestic) mountain of data.

Here are some of the big numbers:

Greatest number of shriveled styles:

Date: July 23rd
Head: 10-13-grn
Pollinator: Andrena
Visit Duration: 3.25 minutes
Number of Shriveled Styles: 71

Longest Visit (based on videos watched thus far):

Date: July 23rd
Head: 17-26-yel
Pollinator: Andrena
Visit Duration: 12.15 minutes
Number of Shriveled Styles: 5

All though we still need to climb a few more pitches on data mountain before we can say with certainty, it appears as though long visits by Andrena do not necessarily result in more shriveled styles. Based on field observations, we believe this is because Andrena bees normally spend longer on the first heads they visit when their pollen baskets are un-filled with the compatible pollen required to cause style shriveling. The ideal visit duration seems to be 2-5 minutes for Andrena.

Well I better put my harness on and get back to climbing. The peak is in sight, but it will take some real finger strength and mental fortitude to reach it.

Maureen Page


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