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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #437413

Research Project: Biological Control of Invasive Australian Plants

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6032-22000-013-63-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

Objective:
Develop safe and effective biological control agents of Melaleuca quinquenervia and other invasive weeds.

Approach:
The following are the performance steps of a classical biological investigation: 1. Survey and identify the pest plant’s native range for list of herbivores that attack the pest plant. 2. Identify the best potential biocontrol agents based on field observations, preliminary lab tests, and information from local scientists. 3. Conduct preliminary host-range tests on most promising candidate in native country to obtain permission to import to U.S. quarantine. 4. Complete host-range tests in U.S. quarantine to ensure safety of the organism relative to local native plants, agricultural crops, and ornamental plants. 5. Petition Federal Technical Advisory Group for permission to release the control agent in the U.S. and obtain permission from necessary State agencies. 6. Culture agents that are approved to have sufficient numbers to release at field sites. Test rearing and release strategies to determine best methods.