It is hard to believe that we are almost at the end of another MMMILC Project field season. Thanks to all of you that have put in time and effort over the weeks. I hope you’ve all gained something from your time in the field, and your involvement in this project. We are still collecting the final week of data, but here are some patterns that we’ve seen so far this season:
It looks like the population of live plants is finally starting to decline, but there were still some pretty large and pretty green plants out there last week. It looks like senescence has started in earnest, with a big jump in the number of “DEAD” plants recorded in week 31.
The figures from this year tell an interesting story. For comparison, here are the figures from 2016:
And from 2015:
The biggest and most intriguing difference I see is the late season spike in larval counts that we saw in 2015 and 2016 was much smaller in 2017. The pattern of egg counts is actually quite similar, and the pattern of milkweed growth is not much different, though perhaps is it flatter in 2015 than in the other years? While this is the end of the 2017 season, it is really just the beginning of my data analysis efforts – over the coming year, I’ll be doing a lot more analysis with these data to examine patterns that might be hard to see in simple plots like these. But this is a great place to start, and I can already see that there are going to be a lot of interesting patterns to examine, and hypotheses to test. I’ll be looking for correlates with the climate, the mowing, plant-level trends – there is a lot to do. This is going to be fun, and I’ll be interested to see the final week of data that is coming in now.
Thanks again for all your hard work on this project, and I wish you all the best in your future projects!
Louie H. Yang