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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
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ScienceShot: Invasive Grass Behind Largest Wildfires
7 December 2012 11:10 am
An invasive grass species has sparked the interest of researchers studying the ecology of wildfires in the western United States. Cheatgrass, a long-stemmed plant native to Europe and southwestern Asia that was introduced by settlers in the 1800s, is now common in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California, and Oregon. By comparing satellite images of cheatgrass to fire activity in the same area, scientists have now shown that the grass is involved in a disproportionate number of fires in these regions, and those fires were among the largest. Although cheatgrass makes up only 6% of the area's vegetation, it has been involved in 39 of the 50 largest fires in the last decade, and has burned twice as much as any other plant species, the team reports this week in Global Change Biology. The grass's ability to spread rapidly and to thrive in a wider variety of climates than other native plant species may contribute to its fire activity, researchers say. By understanding the life cycle of cheatgrass and its relationship to fire activity, climate, and other vegetation, they hope to predict, control, and prevent future wildfires—and effectively cheat the invasive plant out of its evolutionary advantage.
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