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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