Science Center Objects

Invasive annual grasses are the greatest threat to shrub-grassland ecosystems of the Intermountain West. These grasses grow earlier in the season than native plants, usurping water and nutrients, and making survival and reproduction difficult for native species. They also change the fire regime within the ecosystem, creating more frequent and larger wildfires. We are attempting to understand the environmental conditions that may lead to the ultimate dominance of these annual grasses in order to provide early warning indicators before conversions from native shrub grasslands shift to annual grasslands.