Assistant research professor Matt Chew checks the early buds on a willow branch at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project under Seventh Street in Phoenix. Chew guides his dozen BIO494 students through the Rio Salado area helping them identify native and invasive flora, mammals and birds in the area. After rainstorms, biological debris, including seeds, come through the flood control zone from residential and commercial landscapes. The seeds — papyrus, willow, acacia, fan palms, etc. — then take root in the damp soil of the riverbed. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

ASU professor challenges conventional wisdom in invasion biology

Counterintuitive School of Life Sciences professor Matt Chew calls for emphasis on effect, function of tamarisk shrub

February 28, 2017

“Every organism now living occupies an environment shaped to some degree by human activity.”

– Matt Chew, assistant research professor, School of Life Sciences

“Invasion is a difficult metaphor, but it’s a compelling one,” Chew said. “You’ve got to take them on a case-by-case basis.”

Left: Chew leads students along the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project near Seventh Street in Phoenix. He says everything in nature has been influenced by human activity. Right: Conservation biology and ecology junior Alex Votaw (left) and environmental science junior Chase Torrence look at a bird at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now
Left: As conservation biology senior Millicent Chandler takes notes, professor Chew talks about the various sources of water, including from street drains. After rainstorms, biological debris, including seeds, come through the flood control zone from residential and commercial landscapes. The seeds — including willow, acacia and fan palms — then take root in the riverbed. Middle: Assistant research professor Matt Chew talks to students about the history of the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project near Seventh Street in Phoenix. The area was set up in the ’90s to restore native wetland and riparian habitats, and provide a controlled channel for flood waters. Right: Biology senior Sean Mooney takes notes on the Salt River bed. Assistant research professor Chew guides his dozen BIO494 students through the Rio Salado area helping them identify native and invasive flora, mammals and birds. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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