In the Pacific North­west, beach grass com­mu­ni­ties often create sand dunes that mit­i­gate coastal ero­sion and flooding risks stem­ming from rising sea levels caused by cli­mate change.

But Tarik Gouhier, a newly appointed assis­tant pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Earth and Envi­ron­mental Sci­ences in the Col­lege of Sci­ence, says this vital ecosystem ser­vice pro­vided to coastal com­mu­ni­ties may be in jeop­ardy. The reason, he says? An inva­sive beach grass species native to the East Coast of North America that builds infe­rior dune struc­tures owing to its shorter stature and lower density.

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