Stolon Counts Between the Control and Test Trials of Whiplash and Mouse Ear Hawkweeds in Response to Galling

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BY KEITH MORGAN

Having worked with the data more, I was curious as to how much of an effect the galling process had on the quantity of stolons that grew on each species at the different trial ages. To achieve this, I compared the test group against a set of control samples as well. One of the primary questions for the original experiment was to test if the biocontrol agents could prove to be a natural method to control the hawkweed’s spread.

With this visualization, I maintained the age distinctions as it became clear when going through the data that the different species were more affected at different ages. I instead distilled the lateral and main stolon metrics together in order to have an average number of total stolons per species per age for both the control and test trials. With these numbers, I found the ratio of galled plants to the control plants in terms of the number of stolons they had. This ratio – while potentially misconstrued due to the averaging process – showed that only the Very Young group in Whiplash and Very Young and Young groups in Mouse Ear had reduced stolon counts. It appeared in the other groups that galling had in fact stimulated stolon production. It is this difference that I chose to express in my visualization.

A number of metrics are represented in this sculpture. The monoliths are 16’ high, 9.6” deep, 6’ wide, and have 48 spines. This represents the 16 plants per replicate, the 96 total plants in the trial, the 6 different replicates conducted, and the 48 plants per species used in the trial respectively.

The tree structures in this project were an addition inspired by Linda Shi’s first visualization where she modeled a series of abstracted trees using the data points to constrain the height of the trees and leaf population. When she explained that her model represented a large-scale installation that someone could walk under, my mind was completely and utterly blown wide open. It was the first data visualization that I resonated strongly with, and her architectural approach inspired me to create my own large-scale installation piece. Running within the Blender Game Engine, I wanted to honour Linda’s piece by recreating it in a setting more suited to her original vision alongside my own visualization.

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