July 16, 2019

Dwarf Lake Iris in the Beaver Island Archipelago

The last week of June, I had the pleasure of traveling with Bill Parsons and Archie Kiogima Jr. from the Little Traverse Band of Odawa Natural Resource Department to Dwarf Lake Iris populations in the Beaver Island Archipelago. I got to ride on the Odawa Research Vessel to several islands to gather the spatial extent and habitat data of dwarf lake iris populations.

The Little Traverse Band of Odawa Research Vessel with Bill Parsons on board.
Archie Kiogima Jr. and Bill Parsons setting course to islands in the Beaver Island Archipelago.

The high Lake Michigan water levels aided their boat with the shallow underwater spits, but it also inundated some patches of dwarf lake iris!

Thanks again to Bill and Archie for taking me out!

Posted on July 16, 2019 02:33 by rachelh3 rachelh3 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 08, 2019

Inland populations of Dwarf Lake Iris

Huron Pines AmeriCorps member Zack Pitman and I visited several inland populations of Dwarf Lake Iris in Menominee and Delta Counties. Genetic research in the early 1990's found these populations to be genetically distinct from the near shore populations. The hypothesis is that these are relic populations from a post-glacial lake level or lake drainage site, which occurred 10,000 to 15,000 years ago (Orick 1992). I'm excited to find out what Dr. Jim Cohen, Kettering University, will discover in the genetics of the leaf samples we have been collecting given the advancements of the field in the last 27 years.

Although the dwarf lake iris was blooming the day before in the Lower Peninsula, we struggled to find flowers in the Menominee populations. We did find several fruits.

Left: Zack Pitman taking habitat measurement of dwarf lake iris population in Menominee County
Right: The density of the dwarf lake iris in that area.

One record of Dwarf Lake Iris population we had in Delta County hadn't been visited by our staff since 1992. Kenneth Carruthers from Upper Peninsula Power Company was good enough to take Zack and I to the site. The Upper Peninsula Power Company had a private survey for listed species on their property several years ago, and the surveyors had failed to find any Dwarf Lake Iris. We hoped to have better luck, but after a few hours, we came up empty. The habitat looked suitable, but no dwarf lake iris.

Thanks for all of your help this week Zack!

Orick, M.W. 1992. Enzyme polymorphism and genetic diversity in the Great Lakes endemic Iris lacustris Nutt. (dwarf lake iris). Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.

Posted on July 08, 2019 12:38 by rachelh3 rachelh3 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 02, 2019

Dwarf Lake Iris Surveys and the rare white form of Dwarf Lake Iris!

In June, I headed back to Wilderness State Park with Huron Pines AmeriCorps member Zack Pitman and Kettering University Professor Jim Cohen to survey dwarf lake iris. Jim Cohen is collecting leaves within and among dwarf lake iris populations to look at genetic variability.

Left to right, Zack Pitman and Jim Cohen conducting dwarf lake iris survey.

Mosquito swarms tried to carry us away, but we persisted and surveyed two populations; one of which had the rare white flowers growing alongside the usual purple!

Both purple and white dwarf lake iris flowers in the same population.

Thank you, Zack and Jim for your interest and help with the project!

Posted on July 02, 2019 00:37 by rachelh3 rachelh3 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 29, 2019

Dwarf Lake Iris is blooming in Presque Isle!

Today I had the pleasure of searching for dwarf lake iris populations with Vicki McCoy, LafargeHolcim/Presque Isle Quarry's Environmental Specialist. Our first spot was a bust, but later we relocated a population that hadn't been visited by MNFI or its partners since 1989! On top of that, it was the first blooming dwarf lake iris that I had seen this season. We visited several more blooming populations on Quarry property, then I headed to Besser Natural Area and Rockport State Recreation Area to check up on some other populations.

Vicki McCoy points out blooming dwarf lake iris

Vicki and I both thought much of the dwarf lake iris, including that which was blooming, was smaller than usual, especially the leaves. Has anyone else made such observations?

Posted on May 29, 2019 01:45 by rachelh3 rachelh3 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 15, 2019

Dwarf Lake Iris is emerging!!

I was out at Wilderness State Park to check on the dwarf lake iris this week. With the cool spring it is only now emerging at a few centimeters tall! We have historical records of it blooming as early as May 11 and peaking around May 26, but I think we'll have to wait a few more weeks for our flowers this year.

Posted on May 15, 2019 21:11 by rachelh3 rachelh3 | 1 comment | Leave a comment