Questions for ‘Cheatgrass thrives on the well-lit urban night scene’

Street lamps and other night lighting illuminate the urban scenery — as here in Denver — making activities safer. Those lights also aid the spread of the weed cheatgrass, a Western scourge, new data show.

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To accompany “Cheatgrass thrives on the well-lit urban night scene


Before Reading:

1.  Make a list of weeds. Include as many as you can.

2.  Now consider the plants on that list. What traits make them weeds? For instance, what tends to differentiate them from more treasured plants?

During Reading:

1.  Where does cheatgrass come from? In terms of area, how broadly has it spread in the United States?

2.  In what ways can light at night affect ecosystems?

3.  Who did Shannon Murphy recruit to help her with her new cheatgrass study?

4.  What were the test conditions that Murphy’s team investigated in its study?

5.  What was the primary finding of this new study?

6.  What follow-up work does Murphy’s group plan to conduct?

After Reading:

1.  What is one take-away message from the new study? How might ecologists, botanists and homeowners use that information to slow the spread of cheatgrass?