Field of Science

Field work looms

Our field research season begins as soon as the first shoots appear.  So now a lot of planning has to be done to get all of our ducks in a row so you do the right things in the right order in our usual near futile attempt to wrest some meaningful data from the bosom of Mother Nature.  One difficult problem is that some events are so ephemeral that you don't have long to study them.  Here's an interesting one.  Shoots of the lousewort emerge (soon!) on our prairie with a dark purple color, anthocyanin, but a certain small percentage, roughly about 20 percent, are green with no hint of purple color.  By the time the plants reach flowering season in just a few weeks, the weather has warmed and the purple color faded such that the two forms cannot be distinguished.  Past measurements also show that on cold sunny days, the purple rosettes are a few degrees warmer than the green rosettes.  Does this translate into any resource or reproductive advantage?  This is hard to determine, but that's what we're working on.  And we're also interested to figure out the genetics of these color morphs.  Maybe the green morph is inherited as a recessive gene?  So some reciprocal pollinations will be made.  Hopefully the prairie will be burned before we start doing our field work, and not while we are doing field work!   
Sorry if you saw this blog before.  Apparently using the less than symbol makes the program think everything after it is some sort of html statement and it goes goofy.  What a surprise!

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