27 September 2010
The grapes near the lab have been harvested, there’s a bit of fall color, and the weather has turned decidedly cool. This morning, my last one here as interim director, I turned over the soil in my little garden plot and took a look at Hortus Mountain that used to be occupied by Neanderthals. It has been a busy and very enjoyable five months here and I hope that those of you who have not had a chance to visit EBCL can find an opportunity. Thanks for taking a look at this weekly newsletter.
Dominique Coutinot is in Brazil right now to participate in a Round Table at the Brazilian Congress of Entomology entitled “Importation and Application of Natural Enemies for Biological Control—Is it a Rocky Road?” Dominique’s talk is “Prospecting Biological Control Agents Abroad for Real—Is it Still Possible?” Juan Briano, Director of the South American Biological Control Laboratory, will give a talk at the same Round Table entitled “Exchanging Natural Resources for Biological Control in Argentina”. Dominique will go on the visit EMBRAPA’s quarantine facility outside Sao Paulo. We’re grateful to EMBRAPA for funding this visit.
Dominique has arranged for an important discussion of the wording of the French “decree” which will follow from a law passed on handling of non-indigenous macro-organisms. This discussion will involve the principle authorities involved with regulation of non-indigenous macro-organisms and take place at EBCL.
The edition of the Dossiers de l’Agropolis on biological control edited by René Sforza (http://www.agropolis.org/pdf/luttebio/Dossier_LutteBio_Eng.pdf) has been downloaded 35,171 times according to Xavier Chataigner, our computer person.
In another milestone, the two five-year project plans for EBCL were certified by OSQR this last week. This was a big achievement for the lab in the midst of American personnel changes, many thanks to Livy Williams who kept things moving. The staff of EBCL came together well to make cohesive plans that performed the purpose of integrating the efforts of many into cohesive projects.
Franck Hérard and Nathalie Ramualde have made some progress in the laboratory studying the parasitoids of the citrus longhorned beetle. They have been documenting basic bionomics of the larval stage by measuring head capsule width of the parasitoids. They were also successful in getting Asian longhorned beetle and citrus longhorned beetle to oviposit on agar. One of the next projects is to compare the chinensis form of CLB with the malasiaca form currently raised at EBCL.
Guy Mercadier has been working with Jacques Fargue to preserve the INRA collection of entomopathogenic fungi. EBCL is purchasing a new liquid nitrogen system that will reduce labor and increase security of such collections. Discussions are under way now with Richard Humber at USDA ARS ARSEF in Ithaca about how to handle the transfer. Jacques Fargue is the last of the INRA entomologists involved in this field, and now that he has retired there was concern that the collection would be lost.
René Sforza went to Copenhagen last week for the 6th NEOBIOTA Conference (Biological Invasions in a Changing World from Science to Management). He gave a talk entitled “Can chrysomelid beetles control the invasive Vincetoxicum spp. (Apocynaceae)?” co-authored by Y. Garnier, Matthew Augé, and Olivier Simonot. The answer was a qualified “yes” following additional specificity tests.
Finally, and very significantly, US Fish and Wildlife Service concurred with the safety of the release of a scale insect, Rhizaspidiotus donacis, for biological control of giant reed (Arundo donax) in Texas. One of the concerns was potential effect on salt grass (Spartina alterniflora), a key species for the habitat of the whooping crane. Data developed by John Goolsby at the Beneficial Insects Research Unit, Weslaco, Texas, had shown that this was not a significant possibility. The scale insect was discovered in Europe by EBCL’s retired staff member and current contractor, Alan Kirk.
Have a great week,
Daniel A. Strickman, Ph.D.
Interim Director, European Biological Control Laboratory (26 Apr - 28 Sep 2010), Montpellier, France, tel: +33-4-99-62-3020.
Acting Director, Overseas Biological Control Laboratories.
National Program Leader.