Plant-herbivore interactions with hybrid Echinacea plants in native prairie

Year: 2014
Project Description:

In western Minnesota, prairie restorations with the non-native Echinacea pallida have been planted near prairie remnants with the native Echinacea angustifolia. These two species are able to hybridize. Hybrid plants could threaten the native Echinacea by genetic swamping and they may not support as diverse an assemblage of insect herbivores. For instance, the native plant hosts a specialist aphid, Aphis echinaceae. It is unknown how well these aphids survive on hybrid plants. For this project you will collect and transfer aphids to native, non-native, and hybrid plants then measure aphid survival and reproduction. You will also measure performance of the plants to investigate the potential for aphids to affect plant fitness. For more information visit the Echinacea Project website: http://echinaceaProject.org/

Field site in Minnesota
Fieldwork Conditions:
Bees, Insects, Poison Ivy