- Contributor: Maddison Easley
- Contributor: Nikolai Schweitzer
- Contributor: Erica Spotswood
While data is still being collected and analyzed, Spotswood shared some observations from the research conducted thus far. “We do not yet know the effects of grazing, but results from our first year of data indicate that medusahead does well in places with higher soil moisture, and with more grass cover. We also know from some experiments that cows can definitely move seeds around. The seeds attach to their fur, but don't stay on very long, and they probably drop most of them within the first 20 feet of picking them up,” said Spotswood.
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- Contributor: Elise Gornish
The winter annual grass Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski, commonly known as medusahead, is one of the most dominant invasive range species in the West. Despite a broad understanding of medusahead impacts we have limited understanding of how environmental conditions and management strategies influence medusahead population dynamics. This insight is key if we are to ultimately forecast changes in medusahead abundance and spread under various conditions. Using periodic matrix models, we are investigating how density and habitat type (grassland vs. oak woodland) and defoliation influence population dynamics. First year results show strong density dependence ranging from positive to negative depending on time of year with oak woodland habitat suppressing medusahead population growth much more than open grassland.
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Excitement is rising amongst rangeland weed managers, researchers, and conservationists as the date approaches for a forum on The Ecology and Management of Medusahead and Barb Goatgrass. Next Tuesday, November 5th, professionals across California and beyond will unite at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center under a common interest with these rangeland invasive species.
The agenda with information on the specific topics and knowledgeable speakers is available. Staff and researchers associated with UCANR and UCCE will be speaking alongside other various professionals to discuss important topics. Seed dispersal, community dynamics, grazing, prevention, and NRCS programs available are a few of the targeted concepts that will be covered regarding medusahead and barb goatgrass invasions. Field visits and a free lunch are additional compelling components of the day.
Around 100 people are expected to attend. Jeremy James, Director of the Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center, and Elise Gornish, UC Davis Plant Sciences Postdoc, among others, have been focusing their efforts on planning and organizing this regional educational effort.