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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #434038

Research Project: Preparation for Field Release and Evaluation of Classical Biological Control of Brazilian Pepper at U.S. Air Force Bases in Florida

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6032-22000-012-50-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

Objective:
1. Maintain laboratory colonies of the thrips and psyllid biological control agents for field release while awaiting final approval. 2. Prepare field site gardens of Brazilian pepper for mass production and redistribution. 3. Determine nutrient requirements of the agents to maximize production. 4. Evaluate the impact of biological control agents on the target weed. 5. Confirm agent host range under field conditions.

Approach:
1. Establishment of field populations of newly approved agents by mass production of laboratory colonies and release onto groomed field plants. 2. Improve mass production with examination of optimal plant fertilizer levels. 3. Measure impact of biological control on the weed by measuring plant demographic parameters. 4. Confirm quarantine host range testing by exposing vulnerable plants integrated in a garden of the host weed.