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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Research Project #434803

Research Project: Discovery, Description and Evaluation of Eriophyoid Mites as Biological Control Agents of Invasive Annual Grasses

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Project Number: 2060-22000-024-30-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2018
End Date: May 31, 2021

Objective:
Discovery and development of effective biological control agents for medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), cheatgrass (Anisantha tectorum) and red brome (A. rubens), three annual grass species of Eurasian origin that are invasive in the western USA.

Approach:
Eriophyoid mites collected from medusahead, cheatgrass and red brome during native-range field surveys will be subjected to taxonomic, genetic, and biological studies, including the description of new species when applicable. The host range and physiological effects of these mites will be evaluated with regard to the targeted weeds in order to assess their suitability as classical biological control agents. PCR-based genetic markers will be utilized as a taxonomic tool to establish “DNA fingerprints” for the mites under study and to assess their phylogenetic relationships to described species with published DNA fingerprints. Selected target grass species populations will be observed throughout their annual life cycles to document the mites’ life cycles on their hosts under natural field conditions.