Revision: The French Connection between Texas and Carrizo Cane
Last month we published a news item about how USDA and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board are looking to cooperate in managing carrizo (or giant) cane. We would like to revise our earlier item as following:
John Goolsby, a U.S. Department of Agriculture research entomologist, is the project leader for the Arundo donax (carrizo cane) biological control program, which is set to release French wasps to manage corrizo cane. The State Soil and Water Conservation Board has been tasked by Gov. Abbott to develop a program to control the cane on the Rio Grande. The State is hoping to partner with USDA to implement an integrated mechanical and biological control program. Learn more about the biological control program at Arundo at bloomberg.
MiCorps Finds New Invasive Species Trying to Replace Old
Volunteers with the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) made a startling discovery during a vegetation survey at Eagle Lake: starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtuse), a large alga, had taken over after management efforts had reduced the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) population. Rapid response measures are a focus of the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, which trains the members of MiCorps through their Exotic Plant Watch program. Learn more about how Michigan is protecting its lakes from aquatic invasive species at Michigan State.
Grazing Sheep to Control Invasive Species
The Vermont towns of Randolph and Putney have returned to the practice of grazing sheep on public and conservation lands in an effort to curb the spread of invasive plant species. Where other invasive plant removal methods have failed, sheep have shown success. The sheep provide a cheaper and safer alternative to mowing and spraying herbicides on public fields and hard-to-reach conservation property. Read more about how groups like Goat Girls and UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture are changing how invasive plant species are managed at VPR.
SeaCURE: An Advance in Ballast Water Management Systems
Ballast water will often act as a vehicle for small marine organisms that can become invasive when they are released into foreign bodies of water. Ballast water management systems (BWMS) are designed to stop the spread of these organisms by neutralizing or killing them before they are released, and employ different methods. A novel method that engineers are developing is the SeaCURE, an electrochlorination BWMS that uses electrolytic cells to convert salt water into a common bleaching agent, sodium hypochlorite. Read more about electrochlorination at SeaCURE.
Using Shade to Mitigate Invasive Species Along The Upper Niagara River
A study conducted along streams in the Upper Niagara River watershed has given researchers insight in how invasive plant species are affected by native assemblages. Using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP), researchers intended to study how propagation affected invasive species distribution but instead discovered that the presence of shade along riparian zones negatively impacted the growth of common invasive plants. Read more about the study at Niagara River.
Testing Carp Fertility to Help Save the Eastern Great Lakes
As a biocontrol method, grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) have been introduced into many North American waterways in an effort to control invasive aquatic plants. Because it has a voracious appetite, breeding populations have the potential to destroy riparian habitat. Therefore, it is illegal to buy or raise fertile carp in Ohio; all released carp must be sterile. To help ensure only sterile carp are used, researchers are developing a field test capable of determining the fertility status of invasive carp species found around Lake Erie. The field test uses known physical abnormalities in red blood cell nuclei to differentiate between fertile and sterile fish and would reduce the cost and wait time of the more traditional lab test. Learn more about the field test at grass carp.
Saving the Tasmanian Devil and Controlling Invasive Species in Australia
Once widely spread across Australia, mainland populations of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) went extinct around 3,000 years ago and face population decline in Tasmania due to facial tumor disease. In an effort to save Tasmanian devil populations and control invasive species, researchers with the University of New South Wales have been using computer modeling to determine how the reintroduction of the Tasmanian devil to mainland Australia would affect ecosystems. The findings are promising as the model shows the Tasmanian devil would reduce the numbers of feral cats, foxes and some small grazing animals. Learn more about impact the Tasmanian devil has on Australian ecosystems at Tasmanian devil.
New Database Reveals Impact of Invasive Species
Invasive species in all their forms have been previously estimated to cause $1.4 trillion dollars in damage to the world economy. A new study sheds light on what that looks like. This new database finds 3.9% of the world’s plant species have become naturalized outside of their native range. This is up from 1-2% from previous studies. Read more at The Guardian.
Battling Florida’s Invasive Species
A recent multi-agency summit in Davie, Florida highlights the difficulties in managing Florida’s invasive species problem. Burmese pythons have spread farther north and have begun to hatch earlier while African rock pythons, melaleuca, Australian pine and cattail control efforts have been successful. The summit sought to help the agencies and researchers who work together on invasive species issues better coordinate their efforts. Learn more about Florida’s ongoing battle to control invasive species at The Miami Herald.
Time a Major Factor in Exotic Species Invasion
Urgent action needed to protect salamanders from deadly non-native fungus
What factors are the most important in predicting the invasion of an exotic species? James E. Byers and colleagues decided to conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine which variables were most influential. "There is a lot of emphasis in invasion ecology in looking for predictive factors that can tell us what species or what habitats may be most at risk," Byers said. They were surprised to learn that time since introduction was the most important factor in predicting an invasion by an exotic species. Read more about Byers’ research at sciencedaily.
The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans could cause salamander population declines and extinctions if brought to North America via international trade, biologists warn. They are calling for the federal government to place an immediate ban on salamander imports to the United States until a plan is in place to detect and prevent the fungus' spread. Learn more at sciencedaily.
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