Biology researchers study invasive species of grass
UofL researchers are studying stiltgrass to stop it from spreading. The invasive plant stifles tree growth.
By Haeli Spears
While you may not have heard of stiltgrass, the incredibly invasive plant is ubiquitous, and it’s damaging local fields, forests and potentially your own yard. UofL researchers are venturing out to find stiltgrass samples and study its potential relationship to a certain soil-based fungi. Their end goal, however, is discovering a way to get rid of stiltgrass.
“Once [stiltgrass] is in a system … native plants cannot regenerate,” said Kimberly Koenig, graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Biology. “So, we’re not getting our oak and our hickory trees regenerating. We’re not getting maple trees regenerating.”
Koenig is comparing the amount of fungi in soil where stiltgrass is growing versus what is in the soil of traditional grasses.
Several UofL biology majors are participating in the study and gaining valuable experience for their future careers.
“I have done research projects last summer, and last semester, and lots of cool trips,” said senior biology major Jessica Raley. “It’s prepared me, I think, more so than someone who hasn’t had any experience.”
Check out more about their research below: