This past week I finished up the last of my field work for the year. It involved obtaining estimates of fecundity in the two main field sites and also a survey for weevils and damage in the remaining populations of Cirsium pitcheri in Door and Manitowoc Counties. We did find weevils or their damage in some of the sites, but not all of them as we had expected. This is especially interesting because all the sites we surveyed were reported as having weevils in 2011. This leads to interesting questions regarding the presence/absence of the weevils. Are there weevil metapopulation dynamics at play and weevils become absent only to recolonize later? Are there fluctuations in the population on L. planus in the county and these other sites are only impacted in high weevil years? These questions would require more work to answer, but that is how research goes. There are always more questions.
In a few weeks, I am heading to Lacrosse, WI, for a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment training workshop that is being put on by the Fish and Wildlife Service. It should be an interesting event. We were asked to provide potential examples of species to assess, so I sent one for Cirsium pitcheri. It will be interesting to see what conclusions are reached using their methods. I plan to report the results of the workshop back here sometime in October.
The week after that, the class that I am TAing starts up (we are on the quarter system here), and then it is back to real life. My current plans for this quarter include a lot of analysis to work through the results of the summer and writing to the majority of my thesis. I will post here if any part of that process is interesting enough for others to read.