This month has been a productive as I near the end of the semester. My parents are extremely supportive of my work, and in the first part of the month, my dad came to help me in the lab. The McGraw lab goes out every year and records the leaf area of ginseng plants from over 30 populations across 7 states. I want to be able to use this data for part of my research, so I can model how much money a person can make from the sustainable harvest of ginseng. To do this, I needed to be able relate the weight of a dry ginseng root to the leaf area of the plant. I worked with a local ginseng harvester who harvests ginseng sustainably every year. When he went out this year, he measured the leaf area of each ginseng plant, before he dug up the root (see photo below). He then let me borrow the roots for several months, all in the name of research!
I was able to dry out the ginseng roots, weigh them, and then develop an equation that shows how leaf area can predict dry root weight. From here, I can calculate an estimate of how much money a person could make from harvesting a plant of a certain size. Dad was great and helped me weigh and record the weight of over 100 ginseng roots. I am looking forward to November as I delve deeper into my research. Being a scientist is fun!