Week of 6/30 Update

This week I carried on with the quantitative assessments. I finished the quantitative assessments at all sites. As expected, LTRAS seems to be doing the best. With soil compaction being the biggest hurdle for the plants at this point, LTRAS has the advantage of having been tilled regularly for the last decade. The plants are growing like mad there.

Unfortunately the plants at the Putah Creek site, near neighbors to LTRAS, are not doing very well. The plants at Chamberlain and Putah Creek are largely beginning to die back. I don’t think they are able to expand their roots through the tough clay.

The North Davis Creek plants are doing all right. About 90% of the fascicularis are alive, though most of those have hardly broken the 10 cm mark. There are a few glaring exceptions out there, as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, but the plants’ growth seems to be largely stunted. The speciosa line had much poorer survival, but similarly stunted survivors. I’d estimate 60% survival on this line.

I volunteer check at LTRAS as I was completing the quantitative assessment. I also ensured the LTRAS plants were watered according to the watering schedule, after fixing a leak in the irrigation.

In the greenhouse this week, I helped Louie collecting latex samples from a greenhouse experiment. We collected leaf tips in coin envelopes and sapped up the latex that was exuded with pre-weighed filter paper discs. Re-weighing these discs will allow us to determine how much latex was exuded from the plants, which is an indicator of each plant’s defense against herbivory. The leaf tips will be analyzed for trichomes, small hair-life growth for plant defense, and biomass.

While I was in the greenhouse I also helped set up the cloner. Louie collected cuttings from Bobcat Ranch. Each cutting had its leaves trimmed in order to slow transpiration. The cuttings were divided into approximately 4 to 6 inch sections. The lower end of each cutting was soaked in rooting hormone and placed in the cloner.

For next week:
1. Collect soil compaction readings
2. Continue watering and volunteer checks
3. Meeting with Louie to address future tasks

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