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February 12, 2024

This recently published USGS Open-File Report compiles and summarizes 211 research products about medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) published between 2010 and 2022. 

Exotic annual grasses pose a major threat to native ecosystems, and may increase wildfire risk where prevalent. The Bureau of Land Management manages millions of acres of land susceptible to invasion by exotic annual grasses like medusahead, which has invaded rangelands and other ecosystems in the western United States. Medusahead has not been studied as extensively as other invasive annual grass species, so finding and accessing the science information needed to inform management of this novel invasive species can be difficult for practitioners. 

Photo of a head of grass, red background
Closeup of the invasive annual grass, medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae). Photo by Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

To assist in this process, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has created this latest in a series of annotated bibliographies that focus on topics of management concern for western lands. It is preceded by several other bibliographies focused on invasive annual grass species (Poor and others 2021), greater-sage grouse (Carter and others 2018, 2020, 2023), and other sagebrush-obligate species (Maxwell and others 2023, Kleist and others 2022). 

The online version of this annotated bibliography (forthcoming on the USGS Science for Resource Managers online tool) will be searchable by topic, location, and year; it will also include links to each original publication, where available, and an option to download this information into an appendix suitable for inclusion in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses. 

The “Annotated Bibliography of Scientific Research on Taeniatherum caput-medusae Published from January 2010 to January 2022” was authored by FORT student contract ecologists Logan Maxwell, Elisabeth Teige, Joshua Willems, Lea Selby, and Laine McCall, FORT biologists Jennifer Meineke, Tait Rutherford, Ella Samuel, Alison Foster, and Samuel Jordan, and FORT ecologist Nate Kleist. The report is available at: 

photo of a landscape full of dry, yellow grass.
A landscape invaded by medusahead. Photo by Steve Dewey, Utah State University,

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