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Expansion of invasive grasses on sand dunes



Ecosystem Informatics


Oregon State University
(Corvallis, OR)


Julia Jones

Trainee Achievements

Expansion of invasive grasses on sand dunes

Ecosystem Informatics IGERT trainee Phoebe Zarnetzke (Zoology) has been collaborating with Peter Ruggiero (Geosciences), and her advisors, Eric Seabloom and Sally Hacker (Zoology) to understand the factors that contribute to expansion of invasive grasses on sand dunes along the coast of Oregon and Washington, the effects of this invasion on dune shape, and possible feedbacks. Based on exploratory modeling conducted as part of a team project with fellow IGERT students in geography (Tracy Kugler) and mathematics (Ben Morin), Phoebe conducted an experiment testing the effects of different grass species combinations and densities on sand retention, using a wind tunnel as the Oregon State University Tsunami Research Lab. Her experiment showed that species composition and density affected sand accumulation, providing initial support for the notion that dune invasion by non-native species may alter dune shape and produce positive feedbacks for continued dune invasion.