Update on experimental work with Helianthus spp.

Hi everyone,

Once again, thank you all so much for your contribution to seed and leaf collection for this project! I wanted to provide everyone with a brief update on the progress of my experimental work. Since collections ended last fall, seeds were frozen for safekeeping and eventually stratified in cold conditions at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Plant Ecology Laboratory. In the end, you all helped us collect seeds and leaves for 5 different species across the entire U.S., from Florida to as far north as Montana! We stratified seeds and closely monitored them for two months before germinating them in climate-controlled chambers. Given the difficulty that is often associated with germination of wild, native sunflowers, I was surprised to see high germination rates for as many as 15 different populations of the 5 species, including two of the rarest sunflowers still existing in the wild. This has made for a great start to our work at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia where we've built sun and shade structures in a garden setting. Plants will be transplanted at the garden site soon, and for the entirety of the summer, my students and I will be caring for them and collecting data on growth, reproduction, and physiology. Please stay tuned for more updates as the experiment continues, and if any of you are in the Athens, GA area I would be happy to give you a tour of the site and the botanical garden!

Best,
Thomas

Posted by thomas_wiegand7 thomas_wiegand7, May 25, 2022 22:38

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