Franck Hérard came back from testifying at the European Food Safety Agency meeting in Parma. The subject revolved around a request to reduce the amount of time that bonsai trees need to be isolated in order to be sure that longhorned beetles are excluded. The results of the deliberations will be influenced by Franck’s first-hand knowledge of these pests – useful incidental impact from biological control studies.
Arnaud Blanchet is starting up some experiments suggested by Charlie Pickett of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Livy Williams is working with Arnaud as he gets into the world of olives. We are hoping that this approach will result in more impact from EBCL studies, as well as contributions to the scientific literature. Olivier Simonot has set up traps for seed predators of medusahead rye in the very rare patch of it west of Montpellier, near Clermont l’Herault. Marie Roche is continuing her work with the European species of the stink bug, Piezodorus. One parasitoid has resulted from exposure of very few egg masses and Walker Jones is working on the permit to get it shipped to Stoneville.
We had the next series of talks from the summer’s crop of five graduate students. Yves Tindon, graduate student at Supagro, Montpellier, and mentored by René Sforza reported on his work with Steve Novak at Idaho State University in Boise (“Research and Characterization of Populations of Taeniatherium-Caput medusae in Western North America”). He reviewed the genetic structure of example populations, seeing that the division into three groups seen in the old world is not observed in the US, where the majority are the Asperum form. Annelise Riquier from the University of Pau worked under the supervision of Sandy Smith, University of Toronto, and René, spoke on “Impact of Simulated Herbivory for Biological Control for Vincetoxicum in Temperate Forests of the Eastern US and Canada.” Among her other findings was synergistic damage from root and foliar feeding.
Hope you folks have a good week – this is my last full week here in France before I go back to my normal job in Beltsville. Kim Hoelmer will be taking over as director on 7 October.
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.