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Moriarty Science Seminar: Natural history, ecology, and evolution in the invasive Japanese stiltgrass
September 26, 2022, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Hybrid: Online and At the Museum
R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar Presents: Natural history, ecology, and evolution in the invasive Japanese stiltgrass
Speaker: Craig Barrett, West Virginia University
This event will take place Monday, September 26 at Noon both online and at Earth Theater.
Abstract: Invasive species cause billions of US dollars in damage, degrade natural and agricultural lands, spread disease, and threaten biodiversity. One such species, Microstegium vimineum (stiltgrass), is native to eastern Asia, and has become highly invasive in the US over the past 100 years. First discovered in Tennessee in 1919, this species has spread to 30 US states from Texas to New York and is now in Canada. What factors drive invasiveness in this and other species? While the ecological impacts of invasive species are well studied, the rapid evolution of invasive traits has only begun to be explored. Barrett’s research integrates phenotypic (i.e. physical characteristics of the plants), environmental, and genomic data in order to identify the causes of invasiveness in plants. Eradication of this this well-established invader is highly unlikely at this point in time, and the sheer cost of doing so would be unimaginable. Instead, his ultimate goal is to use stiltgrass as a model to help predict and prevent future invasions.