WASHINGTON, Feb. 9Saltcedara hardy, water-guzzling tree that's crowding out willows and cottonwoods along Western U.S. rivers and streamsis among the targets of innovative research led by east San Francisco Bay Area biologist Raymond I. Carruthers.
For his creative, skillful leadership of scientific investigations aimed at stopping the spread of this weed, and other plant and insect pests of ranches, farms, and natural areas, Carruthers has been named Outstanding Scientist for 2004 by the Agricultural Research Service's Pacific West Area.
The 8-state region encompasses Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Carruthers is based at the agency's Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., where he directs the Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research Unit.
Carruthers and other award winners were honored today at an annual awards ceremony here at U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters. His prize includes a plaque and additional funds for his Albany team. "Dr. Carruthers' work shows his exceptional insight, originality, and productivity," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling.
Carruthers first joined ARSUSDA's chief scientific research agencyin Ithaca, N.Y., then worked in Weslaco, Texas. He later moved to the agency's Beltsville, Md., headquarters as national program leader for biological control--the use of beneficial natural organisms to control destructive ones, such as an invasive weed or plant-damaging insect. He's been leader of the Albany team, with labs in Davis, Calif., and Reno, Nev., since 1998, in charge of studies on saltcedar and other weedy plants such as yellow starthistle, tall whitetop, Russian thistle, gorse, Cape ivy, hydrilla, giant reed, pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, and smooth cordgrass.
Carruthers is an acknowledged expert not only in biological control, but also in integrated pest management, or IPM, which is the careful orchestration of a variety of pest-control tactics so each is used to its best advantage.
He received his B.S. in biology in 1975 from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and his M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1981) degrees in entomology from Michigan State University, East Lansing.