Today we had a practice run through Matthew Augé’s master’s degree presentation, which he does officially tomorrow at the University of Marseille. The title is (roughly translated) “Specificity and Bio-ecology of Chrysochus asclepiadeus (Col., Chrysomelidae) and Abrostola asclepiadis (Lep., Noctuidae), Potential Biological control Agents for Vincetoxicum spp. (Apocynaceae) Invasive in North America.” Matthew’s data showed that Chrysochus is fairly specific on the target weeds and that Abrostola is more polyphagous. His study of movement of Chrysochus showed how the beetle does not seem to fly any great distance and that most individual beetles do not go further than 15 meters from their points of release. Last week, Matthew and René repeated the experiment under natural conditions in the Jura, finding similar results.
Marie-Claude Bon and the master’s student with whom she is working, Julie Ripoll, presented a poster at the ECOLOGIE 2010 colloquium here in Montpellier. The conference was attended by over 900 people, most from France. Co-authors included Walker Jones, Javid Kashefi, and Randy Coleman. Its title was “Contribution About the Genetic Diversity and Life History Traits Relative to Invasiveness of the Yellow Morelle, Solanum elaeagnifolium, in the Context of Biological Control” (another rough translation). This poster covered three studies: ploidy of the plant, population genetics of the Greek invasive populations (from Texas, not Argentina and genetically diverse), and growth charactertics showing differences in root structure.
Franck Hérard completed his last trip of the summer to Italy, assembling data on where the egg parasite of the citrus long-horned beetle is located and where it is not. The eggs that had been exposed in the field are being dissected now and he hopes to learn more about the life characteristics of the parasitoid.
Dominique Coutinot and I were given a tour of the “Entente Interdepartementale pour la Demoustication du Littoral Mediterraneen,” the highly organized mosquito control effort protecting coastal populations along the Mediterranean in France. They have developed a state of the art insect quarantine facility and were asking Dominique’s advice on structure and procedures. They were interested in ARS work on the Asian tiger mosquito and on biting midges.
Finally, I am attaching our group photo, taken this morning following the inauguration of our remote control gate system (thanks to Bertrand Berton).
The folks are (left to right):
Xavier Chataigner, Dan Barcea, Franck Hérard, Mélanie Jeanneau, Dominique Coutinot, Livy Williams III, Marie Roche (peeking above Livy’s shoulder), Xavier Leprieur, Farida Bentir, Matthew Augé, Fatiha Guermache, Olivier Simonot, Dan Strickman, Sarah Hague, Guy Mercadier, Nathalie Ramualde, Arnaud Blanchet, Marie-Claude Bon, Julie Ripoll, René Sforza, and Bertrand Berton.
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.