Start Date: Jun 22, 2005
End Date: Jun 21, 2010
Molecular techniques will be developed and tested to: determine if key parasitoids of GWSS occur as a cryptic species complex; detect GWSS and related sharpshooters in the gut contents of native insect predators, to help IPM specialists determine which species are most important to conserve in the citrus-grape agroecosystem. Intensive surveys in native mustang grapes in Texas will be conducted to find potential biological control agents that attack the nymphal stage of GWSS and assess the occurrence of the Pierce's disease pathogen in wild sharpshooter populations. Complementary surveys in South America of related sharpshooters and parasitoids will also be conducted. Chemical ecology studies will be used to identify the role of plant semiochemicals in host plant location and aggregation for GWSS and its egg parasitoids. Research vineyards/orchards in Weslaco will be used to replicate the California agroecosystem where GWSS is invasive, and allow us to integrate our laboratory and field research to evaluate management strategies. New approaches to manage invasive and exotic weeds by: improving augmentative biological control of waterhyacinth; testing bioherbicides to control pigweeds in subtropical cropping systems; conducting field studies in South Texas to determine the impact of biological control agents released for saltcedar on closely related athel pine.