Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1 - This Week at EBCL
2 - 4 October 2010
3 - 27 September 2010
4 - 20 September 2010
5 - 14 September 2010
6 - 7 September 2010
7 - August 2010
8 - July 2010
9 - June 2010
10 - May 2010
August 2010

2 August - 9 August - 16 August - 23 August - 30 August

2 August 2010

EBCL’s “People’s Garden” is coming along nicely. I’ve seen egg plants, green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes coming out so far. You can tell who has been gone on leave or travel from the weeds.

The first wave of vacation-takers have returned, and with them Xavier Leprieur. Many know him as the one to contact first in the laboratory for any administrative or money question. Another person you may contact often, our secretary, Sarah Hague, has just left for two weeks on her vacation time.

This is a busy time for our students, as they must finish their projects and get them written up within the next two months. There are six students associated with EBCL this summer and we are looking forward to their presentations. Because their schedules are so tight, we will have to hear their stories one by one just before they each defend their theses. René Sforza reported that the work from a student last summer, Dorothy McGuire out of Sandy Smith’s laboratory at the University of Toronto, has been accepted as a publication in Biological Invasions.

Franck is in Italy again this week, with probably only one more trip this summer to get the egg parasitoid of Anoplophoralong-horned beetles. Italy added some more money to this project, which is of course a big help for EBCL’s budget.

The big news of the week was administrative. The two project plans  (one weeds, one insects) received “moderate revision” ratings, which places us well on the way to having approved plans like any other ARS laboratory. I should point out that the South American Biological Control Laboratory also received a “moderate revision” rating and the Australian Biological Control Laboratory received a “minor revision” rating. We also got confirmation that Kim Hoelmer will be able to take over as EBCL director – very welcome news indeed!

 

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.

top

9 August 2010

Franck Hérard is continuing his transport of citrus longhorned beetle infested trees to Italy as sentinels for egg parasitoids. It takes a team to accomplish this, with Nathalie Ramualde, his technician, back in the quarantine laboratory and Valeria Todeschini, a master’s student, working on rearing out the parasitoids. Valeria recently got certification to work in the quarantine facility on her own and Franck got additional funding from Italy to continue the project next year.

Dominique Coutinot has begun a series of trips within France to collect nymphal parasitoids of Lygus. This work does not require quarantine and has been part of a very integrated effort between New Jersey, Delaware, California, and Morocco. Marie Roche returned from Spain with just a few parasitoids of the green stinkbug, but these specimens were busily laying eggs in egg masses of the bugs, hopefully multiplying their numbers. One sentinel egg mass is showing signs of parasitoid infestation and she expects a collaborator to send her some of the egg masses that were left as sentinels.

Guy Mercadier has been looking into the possibility of bringing the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) collection of entomopathogenic  fungi to EBCL. INRA is less interested in doing this kind of work and since EBCL already has a repository, our laboratory might be the logical place to preserve the collection. Guy worked out what equipment would be needed and INRA is looking into how it would support the effort.

René Sforza just had a co-authored paper come out in Journal of Applied Entomology, which is about the use of DNA markers to detect cryptic species of mealybugs (Malausa et al. 2010. Doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2009.01495.x). Marie-Claude Bon’s student, Julie Ripoll, just had a poster accepted for presentation at the National Colloquium of the Science of Ecology (ECOLOGIE 2010), to be held here in Montpellier in early September. Julie has been working on the genetics and growth characteristics of silverleaf nightshade, an invasive weed in southern Europe and North Africa.

Finally, on the Greek front, Javid Kashefi just got back from Trabazon, Turkey, where the 2 nd International Workshop on Invasive Alien Species in Mediterranean Type Climates of the World was held. He presented the mission and work of EBCL at the meeting, as well as the work on silverleaf nightshade and other weeds. Javid reported that there was a lot of interest from North African countries, where silverleaf nightshade can be a tremendous problems for pastures and natural landscapes. Javid is also planning some fly (house fly and stable fly) work in Greece.

Hope your summers are productive – attached is a group photo at EBCL’s “People’s Garden.”

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.

top

16 August 2010

I’m sure we are all hoping for Walker’s speedy recovery from the heart attack he suffered on Sunday. Tough to see this happen to someone we know so well and who we depend on in many ways.

This week Javid Kashefi is making another trip from Thessaloniki to Tirana in Albania. He will be making some collections along the way, but the main purpose is to coordinate what we hope will be a significant project on olives in that country. We think we can offer some techniques that will improve yields from their largely untreated groves. In turn, we suspect that Albania has much to offer us from its isolated and ancient olive trees.

Our participation in a large European bar coding effort called DAISIE is continuing, as Melanie Jeanneau continues getting sequences from members of Bracon, a genus of wasps in which CDFA is interested for control of olive fruit fly. Fatiha Guermache is working Massimo Cristofaro and Lincoln Smith on the genus Cosmobaris (Curculionidae), a potential biological control agent of Russian thistle. This project involves extraction of DNA from single legs of specimens which are later identified morphologically. A French national institution called GENOSCOPE , located near Paris, performs the sequencing from the extracted DNA.

Alan Kirk returned from Spain (near Alicante and Motril) where he met Weslaco’s Patrick Moran. They set up field experiments to observe behavior of what has been a difficult-to-rear cecidomyiid biological control agent of Arundo. Working with CIBIO, University of Alicante, and Elena Cortes-Mendoza, they saw that the Lasiopterafly oviposited and pick up a symbiotic fungus when relative humidity was very high. These observations will be used to try to improve rearing back in Mission, Texas.

Marie-Claude Bon and Julie Ripoll’s experiment to compare growth characteristics of silverleaf nightshade from different areas hit a snag when the plants failed to produce flowers in the quarantine facility. Plants of course have their own requirements, but considering the vigor of these plants in Greece, Morocco, and other countries where it has become established in the Mediterranean basin, it is ironic that it needs such careful cultivation in the greenhouse. Not surprisingly, no one has written much about how to make this weed grow better.

After long delays, William Meikle finally received samples of Pseudomonasbacteria from EBCL that are suspected of having killed bees during experiments with Beauveriato control Varroa. He is trying to solve the problem he had in one of the trials with this otherwise promising biological control agent of the mite. The delays were caused by permitting and by preparation of facilities in Texas.

Finally, Franck Hérard received the honor of being invited to present scientific advice on the citrus longhorned beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) to the European Food Safety Authority. The meeting will take place in Parma on 14 September. It is a nice example of how USDA ARS work directed mainly at the benefit of the US also benefits Europe.

 

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.

top

23 August 2010

Just like the proverbial duck that looks calm above the water but is paddling like crazy below, Xavier Leprieur, our administrative manager, has been making sure that our budget comes out to the right level at the end of the fiscal year. With just a little over five weeks to go, it looks like it will be okay even if the exchange rate throws us surprises. That was a skillful job and we don’t take it for granted.

Dominique Coutinot has been doing some successful trips within France to collect nymphal parasitoids of Lygusfor potential use in China, New Jersey, and California. The collections in the Gers Departement are the first ever made there, with some hope that the parasitoids will be preadapted to coastal conditions. Dominique has long experience with Lygusand received help in rearing the material from Arnaud Blanchet, who usually takes care of the olive parasitoids. At the end of September, Dominique goes to Natal, Brazil for the XXIII Brazilian Congress of Entomology. He was invited by EMBRAPA to talk about regulation of the movement of macroorganisms and also to visit their quarantine facility in Juaguarina, near São Paulo.

We are working with USDA ARS Newark, DE, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), and Seoul National University to arrange collection of Neodryinus typhlycybae, a parasitoid of the citrus flatid planthopper (Metcalfa pruinosa). Both are native to the United States, but relatively rare. INRA has done extensive work on this invasive pest and its biological control.

Franck Hérard is completing his last trip of the year to Italy. The miniature forest he had planted is largely depleted now, the trees having served their purpose as substrates for Anoplophoraeggs for capturing parasitoids of the citrus longhorned beetle.

Marie-Claude Bon and Julie Ripoll were a little surprised to see their silverleaf nightshade plants finally flower in the quarantine lab, following five months of cultivation. Now there is a chance of checking genetics and growth characteristics of a larger number of related plants.

Finally, we hear that Walker Jones is doing very well and that he is back at home.

Best wishes,

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.

top

30 August 2010

The EBCL People’s Garden was featured in ARS and Youthis month! (Thanks to Marie Roche for organizing the garden.)

(Click on the image to go to the pdf file)

Around ARS

Also in general news, we honored this year’s crop of master’s students with a luncheon on Friday. They are Camille Twomey and Annelise Riquier (Vincetoxicum, University of Toronto, working with René Sforza), Matthew Augé (Vincetoxicum, University of Marseille, working with René Sforza), Julie Ripoll (silverleaf nightshade, University of Montpellier, working with Marie-Claude Bon), and Valeria Todeschini (citrus longhorned beetle, University of Milan, working with Franck Hérard). Camille left for Canada on Saturday, so she was the first to present her results to the lab. The title of her talk was “Shading Effects on Adult Chrysochus asclepiadeus (Col.: Chrysomelidae) herbivory of Vincetoxicum spp (Apocynaceae).”

The luncheon was the occasion to have some of our colleagues from CSIRO over to the lab. José Serin, Mireille Jourdan, Janine Vitou, and Andy Sheppard came by, as did two alumni from EBCL, Alan Kirk and Ruxton Villet. Andy Sheppard and I had a good chance to discuss possibilities for future relationships between EBCL and CSIRO.

Kim Hoelmer received a parcel of parasitoids from Lygus nymphs, sent by Dominique Coutinot from his recent trips to Gers and Drôme Departments. Here at EBCL the first Peristenusadult emerged from the Gers material on Friday. The town of Auch is the capital of Gers Department and the first location of the EBCL in 1919.

Marc Epstein from CDFA and Todd Gilligan from Colorado State University visited earlier in the week to catch tortricids for taxonomic studies. René Sforza set them up with two organic vinyards and accompanied them in case anyone wondered about the strange blue glow from their black light traps. René knows a thing or two about grape pests – in fact he is co-author of the book, Ravageurs de la Vigne (Grape Pests). EBCL bought a portable generator for the work, which CDFA generously helped fund. Marc and Todd were happy with their collections here, and went on to Italy to complete their field collections in southern Europe.

Some of you may have heard about the current outbreak of West Nile virus disease in Greece that has killed about 10 people in that country. The work that Alexandra Chaskapoulou did last summer was the basis for the government to quickly allow spraying with two aerially applied pyrethroids in an attempt to protect people from infection. Alex worked with Javid Kashefi and used EBCL-Greece facilities to do the work, a cooperation with her school, the University of Florida, and advised by Dr. Phil Koehler. She will graduate with her Ph.D. in October and go to EBCL-Greece in November, where she will be a University of Florida post-doc funded by the Department of Defense.

Franck Hérard completed his last collecting trip of the summer in the area of Como, Italy. Nathalie Ramualde and Valeria Todeschini are dissecting eggs from sentinel trees this week to compile results.

Have a great week!

Dan

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.

top

<< Previous    1     2     3     4     5     6     [7]     8     9     10     Next >>

Last Modified: 11/8/2010
Footer Content Back to Top of Page