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Top Story

Cometh the devil weed. What's the best way to slay it?

Devil weed, it's called, this invasive seaweed that's disturbing ecosystems in rocky reefs off the California coast. The seaweed, Sargassum horneri, is common along the shores of Japan and Korea. But like so many other invasive algae along coasts and in lakes and rivers, its spread is seemingly unstoppable. Now Sargassum horneri has taken hold in Baja California and advanced northward to Santa Barbara and Isla Navidad, potentially inhibiting native algae growth and altering marine ecosystems as it goes. Researchers at the National Science Foundation’s Santa Barbara Coastal Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site compared several approaches for clearing the invasive plants from California's coastal ecosystems, looking for the most effective and efficient methods. Slashing seaweed stems, instead of removing whole plants, may be more effective than previously tried methods in killing devil weed and stopping its propagation, according to the principal investigator.

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