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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: March/April 2008
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Northern PlainFacts.

Issue: March/April 2008


The Northern PlainFacts electronic newsletter offers brief updates on research, personnel, and events from both the Agricultural Systems Research Unit and Pest Management Research Unit at NPARL, and includes contact names and information for those interested in further details. 
 

In This Month's Issue:

       

ARS saltcedar research noted in Billings Gazette Outdoors column

Media contacts local scientist 

ARS Entomologists Train Azoran Scientists in Fungus Production 

ARS botanist to speak at Western Weed Science Society meeting 

National Geographic TV seeks information on butterflies and moths 

ARS support American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) 

ARS Grasshopper researcher to speak at regional Farm Expo 

ARS researcher invited to speak at International Animal Migration Conference 


 

 

 

 

ARS saltcedar research noted in Billings Gazette Outdoors column

Information supplied by NPARL Biological Science Technician Mary Mayer was noted in an April 10th article by Bob Krumm, Wyoming Outdoors columnist for the Billings (MT) Gazette. In the article Krumm described the saltcedar biological control research being done by Mayer and NPARL Research Entomologist David Kazmer at a site in Lovell, WY. The article quoted portions of a brochure developed by Dr. Kazmer discussing the effectiveness of Diorhabda elongata, a Chinese leaf beetle, in the management of saltcedar in the region. Both Kazmer and Mayer are members of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit. 
 

(Dave Kazmer, 406.433.9440, david.kazmer@ars.usda.gov)

(Mary Mayer, 406.433.9426, mary.mayer@ars.usda.gov)


 

ARS researcher invited to speak at International Animal Migration Conference

NPARL Ecologist Robert Srygley has been invited to present a paper at the “International Conference on Animal Navigation: Royal Institute of Navigation 2008, Orientation and Navigation: Birds, Humans and other Animals,” April 2-4 at the University of Reading, United Kingdom. The conference will bring together research scientists from a wide range of research disciplines relative to animal navigation, including orientation, migration, neurobiology, ethology, ecology, entomology and sensory physiology. Dr. Srygley’s presentation is titled, “Do leaf-cutter ants orient their path-integrated, home vector with a magnetic compass?” Dr. Srygley is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit where he is currently studying migration and management of Mormon crickets. In addition to participating in the conference, Dr. Srygley will confer with Drs. Tim Guilford, Adrian Thomas, Graham Taylor, Fritz Vollrath, and other colleagues in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, where Dr Srygley is a Senior Research Associate.

(Robert Srygley, 406.433.9420, robert.srygley@ars.usda.gov

ARS support American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)

On March 26, Dr. Jon Hanson, Research Leader with ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND, provided a seminar on "Career Opportunities with the USDA Agricultural Research Service" and moderated an employee panel from the Mandan lab and the ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Sidney, MT, at the 27th annual American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Student Conference in Bismarck, ND. Sidney Safety Officer Jackie Couture and three Mandan employees, Plant Physiologist Rebecca Phillips, Animal Scientist Scott Kronberg, and Soil Scientist Mark Liebig, shared their personal stories of how they came to work for USDA, their work experiences within their organizations, and recommendations to students interested in science careers. Also joining the panel were three Native American students who had participated in ARS internships and employment including April Blackbird, an intern with the Sidney ARS lab. Barbara King, civil rights manager for the ARS Northern Plains Area, assisted in organizing the seminar and panel. AIHEC represents 36 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) in the United States and one Canadian institution. This year, the AIHEC conference attracted more than 1,000 students and faculty from nearly every TCU.

 

(Jackie Couture, 406-433-9422, jackie.couture@ars.usda.gov)

 

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National Geographic TV seeks information on butterflies and moths

On March 25, NPARL Ecologist Robert Srygley was interviewed by Alicia Decina of National Geographic TV for a program on animal migrations. Decina is interested in filming butterfly and moth migrations across the continental divide in Costa Rica and Panama. She was also interested in Mormon cricket migratory behavior in the western United States. Dr. Srygley had previously studied butterfly migration in Panama and is now studying Mormon cricket outbreaks and migrations at NPARL. He is a member of the Sidney ARS lab’s Pest Management Research Unit. It will take more than a year to complete the migration filming for the National Geographic program so no air date has yet been set.

 

(Robert Srygley, 406.433.9420, robert.srygley@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS Grasshopper researcher to speak at regional Farm Expo

NPARL Entomologist Dave Branson has been invited to speak at the 25th annual Northeast Montana Farm Expo in Plentywood, MT, March 14-15. Dr. Branson will discuss his ongoing research on grasshopper habitat manipulation to curb outbreaks, particularly through different grazing regimens. He will also discuss grasshopper nutrient cycling and its potential benefits. Dr. Branson is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit. In addition to his presentation, NPARL will also have a display booth at the Farm Expo, featuring its wireless irrigation research and new quarantine facility, scheduled for completion this summer. In addition to numerous handouts, the booth will include a model of the new quarantine (made by NPARL Technician Deb Waters) to demonstrate features of the facility and how it will contribute to the lab’s biological control of weed and insect pest research.

 

(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406, dave.branson@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

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ARS botanist to speak at Western Weed Science Society meeting

NPARL Botanist John Gaskin will give a presentation at the 61st annual Western Society of Weed Science meeting Mar 11-14 in Anaheim, CA. The title of Dr. Gaskin’s presentation is "Rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea); only five genotypes found in North America." Co-authors on the paper with Dr. Gaskin include Lynn Kinter of the Idaho Conservation Data Center in Boise; and Laura Parsons and Mark Schwarzlaender of the University of Idaho, Moscow. Dr. Gaskin is Research Leader of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.

 

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, john.gaskin@ars.usda.gov)

 

 

ARS Entomologists Train Azoran Scientists in Fungus Production

NPARL Research Entomologist Stefan Jaronski and fellow ARS entomologist Lawrence Lacey (ARS/Wapato WA) are teaching a short course in Metarhizium fungus production at the invitation of the Azores Regional Service of Crop Protection March 7-18. Azoran scientists have been developing the insect pathogenic fungus to control Japanese Beetle, which is a severe crop pest on the islands, but need to create a production capability. Jaronski has developed a fungus production facility at his ARS location in Sidney, using simple technology, to serve his own and others’ field trial needs for Metarhizium and another related fungus, Beauveria bassiana. He has subsequently taught his methods to other ARS scientists, to plant protection scientists from the Republic of Georgia, and to Agriculture AgriFood Canada entomologists. Lacey, whose research at Wapato has centered upon microbial and nematode control of tree fruit pests and potatoes, has had a long standing research involvement in using Metarhizium against the Japanese Beetle in the Azores. Jaronski is a member of NPARL’s Pest Management Research Unit.

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, stefan.jaronski@ars.usda.gov)

 

Media contacts local scientist

NPARL Ecologist Robert Srygley was contacted Thursday, March 6, by a writer with New Scientist magazine to discuss magnetic compass in leaf cutter ants, a subject he had researched before joining ARS last year. No publication date was yet available.

 

(Robert Srygley, 406.433.9420, robert.srygley@ars.usda.gov)

 


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Last Modified: 9/25/2008