USU’s Science Unwrapped tackles ‘Mighty Phragmites’ Friday, Feb. 20

LOGAN – Thoughts about wild landscapes surrounding the Great Salt Lake usually conjure images of the vast West Desert and the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. Yet another critical feature is an extensive network of wetlands surrounding Utah’s massive, salty sea.

“Wetlands are among Utah’s most critical ecosystems,” says Utah State University wetlands ecologist Karin Kettenring. “They’re especially important in an arid region as they supply the basic needs of wildlife – food, water, a breeding ground and shelter from predators – in a surprisingly compact space.”

Yet the Great Salt Lake wetlands are vulnerable to a number of threats, including pollution, loss of habitat from development, climate change and pesky, persistent invasive plants known as phragmites (“frag MY’ tees”).

Kettenring addresses these challenges, along with special features of Great Salt Lake wetlands, as featured speaker for USU’s Science Unwrapped Friday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium (Room 130) of the Eccles Science Learning Center on campus. Her talk, “Mighty Phragmites: Controlling Plant Invaders in Great Salt Lake Wetlands,” is free and open to all ages. Hands-on learning activities, exhibits and refreshments follow her presentation.

Hosted by USU’s College of Science, Kettenring’s presentation is the second of four presentations in Science Unwrapped’s spring 2015 “Great Salt Lake Today” series during the university’s “Year of Water.”

“We welcome our community to experience this fascinating series,” says Nancy Huntly, Science Unwrapped chair, director of USU’s Ecology Center and professor in the Department of Biology. “Our presentations offer something for everyone.”

For more information, call 435-797-3517, visit www.usu.edu/science/unwrapped or view the ‘Science Unwrapped at USU’ Facebook page.

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