Last week, we spent long hours in the basement of the university building, counting thousands, even ten-thousands of tiny plant seeds.
They need to be counted cautiously, so we know the exact seed input at every labeled sign of the experiment in the field. Only then, we can reliable compare values of germination and species survival under the different treatments. Let us just hope we can find them back…
We precisely counted every time 5 and 30 seeds of our 6 study species, which added up to a stunning amount of 30.240 (!) plant seeds. More than thirty thousand seeds, all of them ready to be planted. A large fraction of them will never even germinate; they will help expanding our knowledge of the limits for plant invasion. Those who do manage to germinate, however, those will mark the circumstances where we should be especially alert for an increase in alien invasion in the future.
Over the next few weeks, I will dive back in the basement to count even more: my gap invasion experiment also asks for seeds. Luckily, long hours of training make you faster.