The Promise and Peril of New Plants on Oregon’s Sand Dunes

Hosted by Lisa Hildebrand and Adrian Gallo

In a rapid fire interview, Rebecca Mostow connects her research on dunegrasses along the coastline of the Pacific Northwest and Dune, the new film adapted from a SciFi book series. The book series envisions a planet with constantly shifting sand dunes, an idea that the books’ author originally had when he visited Oregon’s sand dunes in Florence in the 1950’s. During this time period, federal and local agencies were planting a variety of plant species to keep the sand dunes stable making the lives of coastal communities less … sandy. It worked, and some would consider it a real-life example of terraforming. This concept is exemplified by a character in the Dune series named Pardot Kynes, a plant ecologist helping locals adapt to their sandy environment through their knowledge of plants as a sand dune stabilizer. In real life, there have been trade-offs between more stable sand dunes, helpful for local communities and limiting coastal erosion, but at the detriment of two currently threatened birds who depend on sand dunes that are constantly shifting in the winds. We discuss Rebecca’s findings of a new hybridized beach grass as part of her PhD, a community science project mapping more of these dunegrasses, and its implications for how to manage ecosystems and communities moving forward.

Hosted by Lisa Hildebrand and Adrian Gallo.

Inspiration Dissemination Blog: