She's a Scientist: Tala Awada
An ecophysiologist gets to the root of an invasive tree species that's spreading across Nebraska's grasslands, causing big trouble for the state's ranchers.
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
- [00:00:00.141](upbeat music)
- [00:00:02.771](cows mooing)
- [00:00:05.830]The Nebraska Sandhills are under invasion
- [00:00:08.550]by the Eastern red cedar.
- [00:00:10.590]This native plant has taken root,
- [00:00:13.080]leaving less grassland for cattle.
- [00:00:15.600]Well, I spent many years understanding the invasion
- [00:00:19.090]of Eastern red cedar,
- [00:00:20.420]and I have been fascinated by that species
- [00:00:23.940]and the way it really impacts the environment.
- [00:00:27.910]Tala Awada is a plant ecophysiologist
- [00:00:30.700]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- [00:00:33.070]I look at the response of plants to their environments,
- [00:00:36.580]and that's very important to understand the past, present,
- [00:00:39.710]and future performance of those plants.
- [00:00:42.990]Awada and her students study tree rings
- [00:00:45.600]to see how the red cedar responds to increases
- [00:00:48.200]in carbon dioxide associated with climate change.
- [00:00:51.800]Her research shows that as CO2 increases,
- [00:00:54.650]the trees do better,
- [00:00:56.170]reducing grassland and profits for cattle ranchers.
- [00:01:00.150]And we found that the trees are positively responding
- [00:01:03.530]to increase in CO2,
- [00:01:05.340]so that will give us the ability
- [00:01:07.180]to understand those trees better
- [00:01:09.030]and that will have impacts on productivity, diversity,
- [00:01:12.810]and income of the ranchers, for instance.
- [00:01:16.120]Awada's interest in how things work
- [00:01:18.210]began as a child growing up in Lebanon.
- [00:01:21.120]Her toys would only last a few days
- [00:01:23.200]because she always took them apart
- [00:01:24.780]to see what was going on inside.
- [00:01:27.400]Even my first watch didn't make it beyond a week.
- [00:01:30.150]I was in the classroom
- [00:01:31.490]and I was convinced if I put the pieces in sequence,
- [00:01:36.010]I can disassemble it and assemble it myself.
- [00:01:39.400]Obviously, it didn't work out.
- [00:01:40.750]So I destroyed many toys.
- [00:01:44.570]Awada's natural curiosity was bad for her toys,
- [00:01:47.980]but it may prove vital for Nebraska ranchers.
- [00:01:51.350]My research will have impacts on how we manage grasslands
- [00:01:54.830]so they are resilient and sustainable
- [00:01:56.820]for current and future generations.
- [00:01:58.826](upbeat music)
Log in to post comments