My name is Jonathan Tetlie and I am currently pursuing a masters degree in entomology with a focus on pollinators. The project that I worked on during the summer of 2016 focused on sunflower anatomy and how certain physical traits could influence access for pollinators, thus increasing pollination efficacy and lowing rates of selfing. This project focused specifically on sunflower floret length under the premise that longer florets would hinder pollination particularly from smaller bees with shorter proboscises. In order to observe a wide array of phenotypes present in sunflower, the SAM association mapping population was used to sample floret lengths at the beginning of the flowering period. These measurements were then analyzed and floret length phenotypes were associated each sunflower line. These data could be used in future experiments to further examine the influence that floret length has on seed set and selfing rates.
In addition to this experiment, I was had the opportunity to assist in the sunflower breeding process and the creation of new cultivars. As a whole, the summer research experience was highly educational and valuable from an experiential standpoint and it was very enjoyable and memorable due to the excellent people that are in the Hulke Lab.