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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: September/October 2003
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Northern PlainFacts.Northern PlainFacts image extension.

Issue: September/October 2003


The Northern PlainFacts from the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, offers brief updates on research, personnel and events at the lab, and includes contact names and e-mail addresses for those interested in further details.

 

In This Month's Issue:

 

Engineering specialist to participate in area irrigation tour

NPARL to host elementary students studying science careers

Leadership development program kicks off new year at NPARL

ARS’ TEAM Leafy Spurge documentary recognized

Botanist to speak at TAG meeting

Ecologist to speak on locust, Mormon cricket research

Scientists to speak to MT weed coordinators

Society of Industrial Archeology to visit Montana ARS facility

ARS scientist invited to speak at W-1185 meeting

ARS Ecologist to speak at Remote Sensing Workshop

ARS Ecologist to participate in NASA Saltcedar Workshop

ARS Botanist to speak at Tamarisk Symposium

ARS Research Featured in "National Geographic Today" Web Clip

ARS scientist to study grape vineyard soils in Switzerland

ARS scientists to speak at Entomological Society meeting

New scientist hired at Sidney ARS Lab

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering specialist to participate in area irrigation tour

Agricultural engineer and irrigation specialist, Dr. Robert Evans, will participate in the Custer Country Irrigation Tour, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 3, in Miles City, MT. The all-day event features stops at four area irrigated operations using center pivots, wheel lines and surge valve applications. Evans will be giving an update on his irrigation research with NPARL as part of the day’s activities. Other speakers include Terry Heck with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pat Riley with the Department of Natural Resources and Pick Sloan Power, and Wendy Warren with Montana’s State Irrigation Programs. The event is sponsored in part by the Custer County Conservation District.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

NPARL to host elementary students studying science careers

NPARL will host approximately 80 Sidney, Montana 5th graders Friday, Sept. 5th as they learn about science careers available in their own "backyard." Botanist John Gaskin will discuss his research as part of the morning’s events, as well as discuss the many different types of science careers found at the Sidney ARS laboratory. The youngsters will then tour the facility to learn more about the research efforts conducted at NPARL. The event was arranged after local teachers questioned their charges about their knowledge of science careers available in their own community. When most youngsters were unable to list careers beyond "doctor" or "teacher" their instructors asked for the meeting at NPARL.

Leadership development program kicks off new year at NPARL

NPARL is hosting the first "Issue Day" Sept. 9 for the sixth Sidney Area Leadership Program put on annually by the Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. NPARL also has two employees participating in the program – Location Administrative Officer Mellissa Brockes and Lab Secretary Jill Miller – which is designed to acquaint participants with the history, government, major industries and volunteer opportunities available in the community, while honing their leadership skills. The eight-month program is organized around monthly Issue Days, which include all-day presentations on major area industries such as agriculture, energy and health care, as well as presentations on government affairs, tourism/recreation and education. Participants are also required to attend three leadership skills seminars and at least one local government meeting. NPARL has had several participants in the program since its inception, with 2001 graduate Deb Waters and 2002 graduate Beth Redlin elected by their peers to serve one-year terms on the Leadership Task Force organizing committee. Redlin is now serving as Task Force chair for 2003-2004. Numerous NPARL scientists have also participated in the program as presenters and tour guides in each of the Ag Issue Days held since the program’s 1999 start-up.

(Melissa Brockes, 406.433.9432, mbrockes[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Jill Miller, 406.433.9441, jmiller[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS’ TEAM Leafy Spurge documentary recognized

"Purging Spurge: Corralling an Ecological Bandit," a documentary produced by ARS’s TEAM Leafy program (TLS) in partnership with North Dakota’s Prairie Public Broadcasting, Inc. has been named a 2003 Finalist in the documentary category of the 24th Annual Telly Awards. The Telly Award, the non-network equivalent of an Emmy, is a national competition honoring outstanding non-network television commercials and programs, and non-broadcast video and film productions. The "Purging Spurge" documentary debuted on Prairie Public Television in June 2002 and was distributed nationally in April 2003. The documentary, which focuses on grassland health and the impact of invasive weeds like leafy spurge, was developed to help increase public awareness of noxious weeds and to bring all segments of society on board to help control them. A VHS videotape of the documentary is available free from TEAM Leafy Spurge by contacting the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory at P.O. Box 463, Sidney, MT 59270; or by phone at 406-433-2020; by fax at 406-433-5038; or by e-mail at teamls[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov.

TEAM Leafy Spurge is a six-year, area-wide integrated pest management research and demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and managed cooperatively with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Partners in the program include numerous federal, state and local agencies, along with individual producers.

Botanist to speak at TAG meeting

Botanist John Gaskin has been invited to speak September 9th at the joint Technical Advisory Group and Biological Control Consortia meetings in Spokane, WA. Dr. Gaskin’s presentation is entitled "Genetic studies applied toward the control of plant invasions: From family to population level." A postdoctoral research associate at NPARL, Dr. Gaskin’s research focuses on the systematics and population structure of invasive plants, particularly whitetop or hoarycress (Lepidium draba, formerly Cardaria draba) and saltcedar (Tamarix spp.).

(John Gaskin, 406.433.2020, jgaskin[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Ecologist to speak on locust, Mormon cricket research

Ecologist Greg Sword has been invited to give a seminar on his ongoing research in locust and Mormon cricket ecology at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM on Sept. 16. Dr. Sword's presentation entitled "The behavioral ecology of swarm formation: Is the Mormon cricket a katydid and a locust?" is part of a weekly seminar series for faculty and graduate students at the university. In his seminar, Dr. Sword will discuss recent data collected on the migratory behavior of Mormon crickets and contrast these results with previous work conducted on locusts. While in Las Cruces, he also plans to explore potential research collaborations with NMSU scientists. Dr. Sword's invitation to speak was issued by Dr. Donald F. Caccamise, head of the NMSU Department of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences.

(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Scientists to speak to MT weed coordinators

NPARL weed researchers have been asked to speak to the Montana Weed Control Association's Fall Weed Coordinator Conference during their visit to the Sidney, MT, ARS lab on Wednesday, Sept. 24. Addressing the statewide meeting will be Research Entomologist Dave Kazmer, Research Plant Pathologist Anthony Caesar and Post Doctoral Research Associate John Gaskin. All three will be discussing their biological control of weeds research. Dr. Kazmer’s presentation is entitled " Biological control of saltcedar, Canada thistle, and Russian knapweed," while Dr. Caesar will address "Insect-pathogen synergism: A driving force in classical weed biocontrol." For his part, Dr. Gaskin will discuss "Molecular studies of target weeds." Following the presentations, the group will tour the NPARL facility.

(Dave Kazmer, 406.433.9440, dkazmer[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

Society of Industrial Archeology to visit Montana ARS facility

The annual Fall Tour of the Society for Industrial Technology includes a visit to the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT, September 26 with presentations by researchers studying sugar beet pests, diseases and irrigation issues. Giving talks to the group, which includes participants from across the nation, will be Entomologist Stefan Jaronski, Plant Pathologist Robert T. Lartey, and Agricultural Engineer Robert Evans. Dr. Jaronski will discuss his efforts to develop biological control of the sugar beet root maggot; Dr. Lartey will discuss his work on the biological control of Cercospora, a serious foliar disease of sugar beets. In his presentation, Dr. Evans will discuss ongoing sugarbeet related irrigation research at the ARS facility. Dr. Jaronski and other staff will be giving a tour of the facilities to the 54 visitors. While in Sidney, the group will also tour the nearby Sidney Sugars Factory, established in the 1920s. In addition to the Sidney stop, Society participants will also visit other eastern Montana industrial and historical sites including Montola Oil in Culbertson, the Fort Peck Dam, A&S Tribal Industries in Poplar, and the "oil patch" near Plentywood. The Society for Industrial Technology is an international organization of more than 1,500 members interested in studying and preserving North America's industrial heritage. Each year, in different cities or regions with a significant legacy of industrial activity, the SIA holds a Fall Tour, with this year's tour focused on sites in Northeastern Montana.

(Stefan Jaronski, 406-433-9486, sjaronski[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Robert T Lartey, 406.433.9490, rlartey[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS scientist invited to speak at W-1185 meeting

Plant Pathologist Anthony Caesar has been invited to speak at the 2003 annual meeting of the W-1185 multi-state research project on biological control in pest management systems of plants in Asilomar, CA Oct. 2-3. Dr. Ceasar’s presentation is entitled: "Insect-Microbial Interactions in Classical Weed Biocontrol." The W-1185 project is a revised version of the W-185 project on the biological control of arthropod pests and weeds, sponsored by USDA-CSREES through the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. Revisions under W-1185 include the addition of new target pest species including cape ivy (Delairea odorata) and saltcedars (Tamarix sp., especially T. ramosissima). W-185 is one of the largest (17 states, 100+ members), longest-lasting (35+ years), and most productive regional projects in the country.

(Anthony Caesar, 406.433.9412, caesara[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS Ecologist to speak at Remote Sensing Workshop

Research Ecologist and Remote Sensing Specialist Gerald Anderson has been invited to speak at the 19th Biennial Workshop on Color Photography, Videography and Airborne Imaging for Resource Assessment to be held Oct. 6-8 in Logan, Utah. The workshop will explore the applications of high-resolution color and multispectral airborne and satellite imagery along with computer-based analysis for the identification, measurement and monitoring of natural and agricultural resources. Dr. Anderson will be presenting two papers entitled: "Monitoring the Dynamics of Saltcedar Biological Control in Lovelock, Nevada," coauthored with J. Knight of the Nevada Department of Agriculture and Dr. R.I. Carruthers of ARS, Albany, CA, and "Close-proximity Digital Imaging for Rangeland Assessment and Monitoring" co-authored with Dr. Don Kirby of North Dakota State University, Fargo.

(Gerald Anderson, 406.433.9416, ganderson@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS Ecologist to participate in NASA Saltcedar Workshop

Research Ecologist and Remote Sensing Specialist Gerald Anderson has been invited to speak at a joint workshop on saltcedar between representatives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Oct. 13-16 at NASA in Ames, CA. Participants at the session will be exploring potential collaborations using satellite and aerial photography in weed management. For his part, Dr. Anderson will be discussing the preliminary results of biocontrol damage to saltcedar at Lovelock, NE.

(Gerald Anderson, 406.433.9416, ganderson@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS Botanist to speak at Tamarisk Symposium

Research Associate John Gaskin has been invited to speak at the Tamarisk Symposium to be held in Grand Junction, CO Oct. 22-24. Dr. Gaskin will discuss his research in "Tamarisk Genetics" to aid in the search for biological control agents for this invasive shrub, also known as saltcedar. A high-water user, tamarisk infests over 1 million acres in the western US producing thick, impenetrable stands along rivers, streams, reservoirs lakes and stock ponds. Tamarisk is responsible for lowering water tables, slowing flows and increasing soil salinity in the areas it infests. The symposium is sponsored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Colorado Weed Management Association, The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and The Tamarisk Coalition.

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, jgaskin@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS Research Featured in "National Geographic Today" Web Clip

In cooperation with the National Geographic Channel, NPARLhas posted a video clip from the channel's daily news program featuring ARS Research Ecologist Greg Sword and his Mormon cricket tracking research team on its website at: http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/moviegallery.html. The video, which originally aired July 23 on "National Geographic Today," discusses the pest tracking project conducted in Colorado this past summer by Sword and his collaborators, Dr. Pat Lorch of the University of North Carolina, and Dr. Darryl Gwynne of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Also participating was NPARL Biological Science Technician Laura Senior. The segment includes footage of researchers "tagging" individual insects with tiny radio transmitters, relocating them, and recording data on their movements using GPS. A flightless insect, the Mormon cricket is known to be capable of traveling up to a mile a day, although a particularly hardy individual tracked by the team traveled significantly further across rugged mountainous terrain. The researchers studied three different bands of Mormon crickets, with millions of insects in each band, as they moved across northwestern Colorado near Dinosaur National Monument. Researchers hope to ultimately use the information collected to develop mathematical models for predicting band movement so that producers and other affected parties can target control methods where they're most needed and most effective.

(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Laura Senior, 406.433.9498, lsenior@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS scientist to study grape vineyard soils in Switzerland

Research Microbiologist TheCan Caesar has been invited to participate in a collaborative research project to study vineyard soil structural deficiencies and runoff problems with the Swiss Federal Research Station of Plant Protection in Nyon, Switzerland beginning Oct. 24. Dr. Caesar will be collecting and processing soil samples and comparing data from vineyard systems in the US and Switzerland. Utlimately, Dr. Caesar anticipates the joint research effort may lead to improved wine quality and production and augment ongoing ARS programs on the development of sustainable soil management systems. While in Switzerland, Dr. Caesar will also participate in informal training on special HPCL techniques.

(TheCan Caesar-TonThat, 406.433.9415, caesart@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS scientists to speak at Entomological Society meeting

Four NPARL research scientists have been invited to speak at the 2003 Entomological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting to be held in Cincinnati, OH Oct. 26-30. Asked to participate in a symposium on "Multidisciplinary Advances in Orthopteran Science" are Research Entomologist David Branson and Research Ecologist Greg Sword. Dr. Branson’s presentation is entitled "The role of grazing management in reducing grasshopper outbreaks," while Dr. Sword will discuss "Experimental approaches to Mormon cricket band formation and migration." Both work with the Sidney ARS lab’s grasshopper research program. NPARL Research Insect Pathologist Stefan Jaronski has also been invited to speak at the session as well as to help coordinate a symposium on "Sugarbeet Root Maggot Management: Multidisciplinary and Innovative Approaches." His presentation for that session is entitled "Potential of sugarbeet root maggot biological control: Is there hope?" Dr. Jaronski will also be presenting a second paper at the EAS meeting entitled "Mycoinsecticides: The challenges in commercial production." Rounding out NPARL’s list of invited participants is Research Ecologist and Remote Sensing Specialist Gerry Anderson, who will participate in the "Applications of Remote Sensing in Entomology" symposium. His presentation is entitled "Using remote sensing to quantify the impact of biocontrol agents on target plant species."

(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406, dbranson@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486, sjaronski@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Gerald Anderson, 406.433.9416, ganderson@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

New scientist hired at Sidney ARS Lab

Dr. John Gaskin has been hired to fill a new Botanist/Molecular Biologist post recently established at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT. The announcement was made this past week by Dr. Thomas Shanower, Research Leader of the lab’s Pest Management Research Unit (PMRU).

“We are very pleased to have someone with John's skills and abilities at the lab.” Dr. Shanower said, in making the announcement. “He will be joining a productive and high profile weed biological control research team. He adds expertise in plant systematics and molecular and morphological taxonomy that we've not had before."

The duties of the new position, established as part of the PMRU's weed biocontrol program, will include:

  1. Investigate the taxonomic relationships among target invasive weeds and closely related species.
  2. Investigate the interactions and relationships among target weed populations and their biological control agents.
  3. Investigate the invasion processes for invasive weed species.
  4. Evaluate the biogeography and systematics of target weeds and their natural enemies.

Prior to accepting the new post, Dr. Gaskin had been working at NPARL on a temporary basis as a post-doctoral research associate studying the molecular genetics of saltcedar, hoary cress, hawkweed, and Russian thistle.

(John Gaskin, 406.433.9444, jgaskin@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

(Thomas Shanower, 406.433.9405, tshanower@sidney.ars.usda.gov)

 



Last Modified: 11/10/2004
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