Broken bones, furious data collection and next steps: the end is nigh!

I’m in the final throes of collecting data on my experiment! I’m definitely ready to be finished, but there is much to do before the first frost hits.

Broken finger x-ray!

Broken finger x-ray!

Unfortunately for me, my dog broke the 4th finger on my left hand two weeks ago (leash wrapped around finger+ cat = dog excitement + broken finger). I’m left handed, so it’s been challenging to collect data. But with some sweet “buddy tape” though, I’m making it work!

Shamed (but still cute) dog.

Shamed (but still cute) dog.

Data collection at River Terrace (rural field site)

Data collection at River Terrace (rural field site). 

I’m currently in the process of counting male female reproductive parts to get estimates of male and female fitness. By “parts” I mean the stalks with the male inflorescences (see the previous post on ragweed flowering) and the fruit. This is fairly time consuming, as you can imagine, especially since some of plants are well over 1 m tall!

The plants are starting to get pretty crispy and brown, which is to be expected as the summer season comes to an end. Plus the first frost in Minneapolis normally occurs in early October. It’s a race against time to finish data collection before they get zapped!

Once the reciprocal transplant experiment wraps up, I will embarking on a road trip in October/November to collect seeds from a whole bunch of populations in both urban and rural locations from Minneapolis to St.Louis to Dallas. These seeds will be used for an experiment next summer where I will be looking at continental-wide patterns of population divergence and adaptation in common ragweed as well as testing for evidence of convergent evolution in phenotype to urban environments.

Blue skies in rural MN

Blue skies in rural MN

I’m going to write some regular posts about my collection trip (if anything just to post some photos of delicious t-ravs in St.Louis), but for now, here is a teaser photo I took out by one of of my Minnesota rural collection locales last week!

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