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Research Project: Native Range Collection and Evaluation of Candidate Biological Control Agents for Arundo donax


2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this research is to make field collections of the candidate biological control agent of the invasive weed, giant reed, Arundo donax to be used in stateside research, and to conduct field host range studies of selected agents.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Field research on the host range and impact of the candidate agents will be done in the native range of A. donax and the candidate agents. Research in the native range allows for unique opportunities to evaluate the agents under field conditions similar to the Southwestern U.S. This information will be used to support TAG petitions for release of the agents. Field collections of agents will also be made to use in testing and/or release of the agents in the U.S.

3. Progress Report
This is the final report for this project, which terminates on September 2011. Following the receipt of the field release permit in Dec. 2010 for the arundo scale, large collections were made in 17 locations in Spain and France for shipment to quarantine facilities at Moore Airbase, Edinburg, TX. More than 3.5 million scale crawlers were processed and released at field sites in Del Rio, TX, and into mass rearing facilities. Field studies of the arundo leafminer were conducted in Alicante and Malaga, Spain, to determine the optimum environmental conditions for rearing the fly in the quarantine facility. Our collaborator attended the annual Arundo Biological Control Meeting in February 2011, and redesigned the methods for rearing of the arundo scale. The new methods keep the infested rhizome suspended in a dry bed of gravel above the water table. Weekly irrigation at the field release sites was also implemented to increase humidity, which has been shown to increase the survival of scale crawler. The ADODR is in regular contact via email with the cooperator.

4. Accomplishments