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ARS Symposium Addresses Invasive Species

By Hank Becker
February 11, 2000

Thwarting alien invasive species--a growing challenge for researchers--will be the subject of a Feb. 15 symposium sponsored by Agricultural Research Service laboratories at Beltsville, Md.

The symposium will address current and future research efforts to combat these invaders and lessen the damage caused by those already here, according to ARS entomologist Michael E. Schauff. He's based at the ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory at Beltsville.

Each year, American farmers and homeowners spend millions of dollars combating fungi, weeds, insects, nematodes and other alien organisms that have been introduced into the United States from foreign countries. With the increase in international commerce and trade, the number of alien species entering and becoming established in this country is growing every year.

Last year's invaders include Paracoccus marginatus, the papaya mealybug from Mexico that damages papaya and cassava, and Oidium lycopersici, tomato powdery mildew from Europe that can devastate commercially grown greenhouse and cultivated tomatoes.

The Beltsville scientists will discuss their ongoing research aimed at solving the problem of invasive species and lessening their impact on America's food and fiber supply. Guest speakers will focus on global and national perspectives. Afternoon sessions include demonstrations of laboratory activities highlighting research addressing specific invasive species problems and issues.

Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 11:45 a.m. Research demonstrations run from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientific contact: Michael E. Schauff, ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-5182, fax 504-6482,