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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: Jan/Feb 2012
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Issue: January/February 2012 
 

ARS Entomologist to provide technical expertise to aid Ecuadorean biocontrol program

Sidney MT ARS researchers present at SRM annual meeting

Montana ARS grasshopper researchers participate in National Grasshopper Board Meeting

Montana ARS lab successfully works to cut costs

ARS molecular scientist invited to speak at Desert Botanical Garden

Montana ARS labs to participate in regional Ag Show

Montana ARS scientists, technician to participate in state biocontrol working group

ARS Insect Ecologist gives immunology presentation at joint international meeting 


 
 
 

ARS Entomologist to provide technical expertise to aid Ecuadorean biocontrol program

At the invitation of AgResearch of New Zealand and the Instituto Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones Agropecuarias of Ecuador (INIAP), Dr Stefan Jaronski, ARS Sidney MT, will be traveling to the Santa Catalina Research Centre near Quito, Ecuador where he will help review and provide technical inputs to the research projects of the INIAP Bioproducts Program, particularly projects on developing microbial agents to control insects. This will include evaluation of the laboratory and technologies under development in the INIAP Bioproducts Laboratory. His visit, which runs from Feb. 5-12, will then focus on key technologies under development in the programme, with full day sessions with the local scientists to evaluate the status of developments with visits to the field and local biocontrol producers. The consultation will conclude with development of a research plan for the INIAP laboratory and meetings with the INIAP Directors to present workshop findings. As part of his visit Dr. Jaronski will present a seminar on "Challenges in the Development of Practical, Successful Microbial Agents to Manage Insect Pests," sharing his 17 years' experience commercializing insect pathogens in industry and another 12 years developing insect pathogens as a Research Entomologist in ARS.

 

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

 

Sidney MT ARS researchers present at SRM annual meeting

Two Sidney MT ARS researchers are participating in the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management (SRM) in Spokane Jan. 29-Feb. 3. Over 40 symposia, workshops and forums are planned for the event. SRM has more than 4,000 members in 48 countries. Participating from Sidney ARS are Plant Ecologist Erin Espeland and Entomologist Dave Branson. Dr. Espeland is giving a presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 1 on “Multi-trophic Effects of Russian Olive Removal and Restoration: Getting Information from Weed Eradication” as part of the Invasive species/Weed Management, Weed Biology and Ecology Technical Session. Dr. Espeland will discuss a new multiagency research effort to determine the responses to Russian olive removal and deliberate revegetation on secondary invasions, forage production (quantity and quality), soil traits and insect and bird population recovery at Ft. Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory in Miles City, MT. Researchers participating in the multi-year project will also develop an economic analysis of removal and revegetation treatments. The group has already had some significant success in removal efforts using the cut/stump method treated with Element 4 (triclopyr) herbicide mixed with Basal Bark Oil in a 1:3 ratio (1 part Element to 3 parts bark oil). The result was very few resprouts: 25,000 trees were removed and only 30 resprouts were recorded. Participating in the project are Miles City ARS Research Leader Dr. Mark Peterson and Rangeleand Scientist Jennifer Muscha. In addition, to Espeland’s presentation, Sidney, MT ARS Entomologist Dave Branson will be presenting a poster on “Impact of Grasshopper Herbivory on Rangeland Production and Species Composition in Northern Mixed Prairie: Results from a Long Term Experiment.” In it he discusses a 7-year small scale study in eastern Montana examining the effects of grasshopper herbivory on rangeland productivity that even at higher densities (150% of field abundance), grasshopper herbivory had no significant detrimental impact on vegetation production when assessed over an 8 year period. Grasshopper herbivory did lead to differences in vegetation composition, with results dependent on grasshopper species.

 

(Erin Espeland, 406.433-9416, erin.espeland@ars.usda.gov)

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

 

Montana ARS grasshopper researchers participate in National Grasshopper Board Meeting

Three Sidney MT ARS scientists are participating in the annual meeting of the National Grasshopper Board in Denver, Jan. 24-25. The National Grasshopper Management Board facilitates communication among various federal (USDA-ARS, USDA-APHIS, BLM, USFS, BIA, FWS), state, county, university extension and private parties with interests in grasshopper management on both public and private lands. The yearly meeting provides information on outbreak conditions, current research results, funding, and management issues relevant to grasshopper and Mormon cricket management and control throughout the western U.S. Sidney ARS participants include Entomologists Dave Branson, Robert Srygley and Stefan Jaronski, all of whom will be providing updates on research they’re doing to prevent and combat grasshopper and Mormon cricket outbreaks. Dr. Jaronski will be presenting three talks on Tuesday, Jan. 24, entitled “Field evaluation of Beauveria and Metarhizium against grasshoppers”; “Genetic diversity of Beauveria bassiana from grasshoppers,” and “Tolerance of 100 Beauveria bassiana isolates from grasshoppers to transient heat.” The following day, Dr. Srygley will discuss “ARS Observations on lab rearing and predation of Mormon crickets” and Dr. Branson will address the “Impact of long term grasshopper herbivory on rangeland production in northern mixed prairie.” Drs. Branson and Jaronski are also serving on a panel discussing the “The present and the future of biological control of grasshoppers” during the two-day meeting.

 

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

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

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

 

 

Montana ARS lab successfully works to cut costs

Every little bit helps and that’s particularly true when it comes to energy cost savings at an ARS research laboratory. Shedding a little light on the subject is Sidney, MT, ARS Utilities Services Repairer Operator Eric Steinbeisser who is currently updating a number of his lab’s outside lights and lighted signage with LED bulbs. While annual savings from the new lighting is small, the main savings are found in the replacement costs. The new LED lights are about half the cost of the underground ballasts currently used ($250 vs. $450). But Steinbeisser’s money-saving efforts are not limited to smaller projects. Continued monitoring of the lab’s new 90% efficient, gas-fired boilers purchased in 2009, shows that the Sidney, MT ARS facility has averaged more than $10,000 in energy savings annually since their installation at Steinbeisser’s recommendation.

 

(Eric Steinbeisser, 406.433-9421, eric.steinbeisser@ars.usda.gov)

 

ARS molecular scientist invited to speak at Desert Botanical Garden

Montana ARS Botanist John Gaskin has been invited to speak at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) in Phoenix on January 23 and to meet with researchers there to discuss collaborations on projects related to the biocontrol of invasive saltcedar (Tamarisk). Dr. Gaskin’s presentation is entitled “Molecular identification of invasive saltcedar plants.” In his discussions with DBG research staff, Dr. Gaskin will provide guidance on designing a molecular analysis of invasive saltcedar in the southwest USA. The Desert Botanical Garden’s mission is to “advance excellence in education, research, exhibition and conservation of desert plants of the world with emphasis on the southwestern United States.” The Garden includes 145 acres of desert land with 50,000+ outdoor plant displays and 104 staff members, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Among its research emphases are projects investigating the spread and ecological impacts of non-native species, such as saltcedar.

 

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

 

Montana ARS labs to participate in regional Ag Show

The Sidney and Miles City, MT, ARS research locations are both participating in the 2012 MonDak Ag Days event to be held Jan. 12-13 in Sidney. The event features a trade show and speakers on ag subjects of interest to both ag and livestock producers in Eastern Montana and western North Dakota. The Sidney lab is hosting a booth at the event highlighting research underway at the lab and pointing out the financial and other benefits associated with agricultural research. Featured research includes studies on residue management by Sidney Agronomist Bart Stevens and work on fungal control of grasshoppers by Sidney Insect Pathologist Stefan Jaronski. Also participating in the event is Miles City, MT, ARS Physiologist Andy Roberts who will give a presentation at 1 pm on “Factors affecting cow herd efficiency” as part of the livestock session on Thursday, Jan. 12.

 

(Bart Stevens, 406.433.9476, bart.stevens@ars.usda.gov)

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

Montana ARS scientists, technician to participate in state biocontrol working group

Two Sidney, MT ARS scientists, Botanist John Gaskin and Entomologist Kevin Delaney, and Technician Mary Mayer are participating in the Montana Biological Control Working Group/Research Summary Meeting on Tuesday Jan. 10th, in Great Falls, MT. The Sidney ARS representatives, all with the lab’s Pest Management Research Unit, will be updating the group on ARS research underway at the location, including work on biocontrol of invasive weeds (salt cedar, whitetop/hoary cress, Russian olive, perennial pepperweed, orange hawkweed and dalmation toadflax) and restoration efforts following control, along with biocontrol research on insect pests (wheat stem sawfly, grasshoppers/Mormon crickets and alfalfa weevil). The Sidney scientists will also participate in discussions identifying future projects for the MT Biological Control Working Group. Working group members include representatives from ARS, the Forest Service, APHIS-PPQ, BLM, Montana State University – Bozeman, and the Montana Department of Agriculture, among others. The meeting is part of the 55th annual Montana Weed Control Association Conference also being held in Great Falls from Jan. 10-12.

 

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

(Kevin Delaney, 406.433.9440, kevin.delaney@ars.usda.gov)

(Mary Mayer, 406-433-9426, mary.mayer@ars.usda.gov)

 

ARS Insect Ecologist gives immunology presentation at joint international meeting

Sidney ARS Insect Ecologist Robert Srygley was a participant in the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) held in Charleston, SC, January 3-7. Dr. Srygley gave an oral presentation on “Adaptive melanism and immunity to fungal infection in the migratory grasshopper” as part of the Immunology: Fungal Infections Session at the SCIB meeting Wednesday, Jan. 4. Collaborating on the project was fellow Sidney ARS researcher Dr. Stefan Jaronksi. The research showed that migratory grasshoppers raised at higher temperatures were paler and had significantly less phenoloxidase (PO), a key enzyme for both cuticular melanization and the generalized immune response of insects to invasion. The grasshoppers reared in the hot environment also had greater mortality from fungal infection and shorter median survival time. The research demonstrated that reduced melanization in response to higher ambient temperature is associated with changes in immunity and, furthermore, may ultimately prove detrimental to a population’s resilience to climate change. Both Srygley and Jaronski, an insect pathologist at Sidney, are members of the lab’s Pest Management Research Unit. This year’s SCIB meeting is expected to be the largest on record with more than 1,420 presentations over four full days. The 2012 SICB meeting is co-sponsored by the American Microscopical Society, Animal Behavior Society, and the Crustacean Society.

 

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

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

 

 


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Last Modified: 5/30/2012
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