Endless Data Entry

Zumwalt in June
Harsin Butte from the Salt Road. The hike to the top gives incredible views of the Seven Devils and Wallowa Mountains.

Not much new to share as I spent this past week in La Grande and worked on data entry. I spent part of the week inputting data at home, and the other part of the week working with Kaylee at EOU. We’re currently working on transferring all the hard copies to digital spreadsheets. Our focus right now is to transfer all the transect data and plant sampling. Each site at Starkey and on the Zumwalt gets recorded onto paper, is then counted, then recounted by somebody else for quality control, then entered into a spreadsheet, then recounted, and is finally ready for use.

Working with data sheets has reinforced the importance of spelling, clean handwriting, organization, and patience. Spelling and legible handwriting is crucial because it means the difference between inputting the wrong species or number. Organization is also important because if you aren’t careful you could easily mix up data within months, sites, or even years. And patience is imperative because it gives you clarity and focus. It’s tedious work, and even once I get into the rhythm of it I still need to take lots of visual breaks. I’m not sure if everyone else struggles, but my eyes get sore easily and begin to play tricks on me. For instance, 575 ends up reading as 557. So, I’m trying to double check as best I can, and to be kind with myself.

I will also say that the data entry has helped with pronunciation and spelling of all the various species. We’ve also already noticed many of the plants occur at every, or most sites. For instance, Achillea millefolium seems to be a staple at each transect. It’s also interesting to see many of the plants go into bloom. For example, Geranium viscosissimum (sticky geranium) seemed to rapidly increase by the end of June. We also noticed the wide variance in species richness from Starkey verses the Zumwalt. In the grand scheme of things the two areas are relatively close in proximity, but so vastly different in diversity!

I will be back on the Zumwalt this week with Dr. DeBano, Scott, and James. We should be back in town Thursday evening, and I will be joining Scott at Starkey Friday. Since, I didn’t take any glamorous photos of data sheets or Excel I’ve decided to post a few more flowers that are common on the prairie.

Scientific name: Castilleja, Family: Scrophulariaceae, common name: paintbrush
Scientific name: Tragopogon spp., Family: Asteraceae, common name: salsify
Scientific name: Cirsium brevifolium, Family: Asteraceae, common name: Palouse thistle
Scientific name: Ventanata dubia, Family: Poaceae, common name: ventanata, African grass
Scientific name: Delphinium bicolor, Family: Ranunculaceae, common name: little larkspur

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1 thought on “Endless Data Entry

  1. Christina Walsh

    Thank you for this update Marisa! Definitely take time to rest your eyes. I hope you have a great time out on the Zumwalt this week!


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