Symposium

Of Rising ScholarsFall 2022

Indra will be presenting at The Symposium of Rising Scholars on Saturday, September 24th! To attend the event and see Indra's presentation,

Register here!
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Polygence Scholar2022
Indra Deshmukh's profile

Indra Deshmukh

high_schoolClass of 2023San Ramon, CA

About

Projects

  • "How does the presence and removal of invasive Arundo donax impact the coverage of native creeping wild rye and valley sedge in Walnut Creek?" with mentor Katherine (Aug. 6, 2022)

Project Portfolio

How does the presence and removal of invasive Arundo donax impact the coverage of native creeping wild rye and valley sedge in Walnut Creek?

Started Apr. 21, 2022

Abstract or project description

Giant reed (Arundo donax) is an invasive perennial grass that spreads through California riparian habitats. It disperses through vegetative propagation and has replaced native plant communities, including at sites along Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County. Current Arundo removal methods include cutting stalks and subsequently spraying with a glyphosate herbicide. I investigated the extent to which presence and removal of Arundo impacted native plant species survival in the Walnut Creek region. I used the coverage of creeping wild rye and valley sedge at 8 sites – four where Arundo was removed, three where it remained present, and one where Arundo presence was never established – as an indicator of native ecosystem health. At each site, I recorded the number of plants of interest within three 1 m x 1 m areas. I expect to find that native plant species presence is significantly reduced in areas where Arundo was not removed compared to sites where it was cleared and the control site where it was never present. As an invasive species, Arundo excludes native wildlife and provides no known food or nesting sites. Furthermore, it reduces creek moisture and its dried stalks pose a fire hazard, negatively impacting overall species richness.