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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #439323

Research Project: Determination of the Genetic Origin of Invasive Common Ice Plants (Mesembryanthemum spp.) in California and Prioritization of Biocontrol Agents

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Project Number: 2030-22000-033-002-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 9, 2021
End Date: Sep 30, 2021

1. Sample M. crystallinum and M. nodiflorum on the Channel Islands and the mainland California coast, as well as in the native range of western South Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. 2. Conduct genetic analyses through a South African collaborator to determine genetic diversity and most likely area(s) of origin of invasive crystalline ice plant populations. 3. Sample these area(s) of origin to observe and collect insects feeding on the plants, and identify and prioritize the insects most likely to be capable of feeding only on crystalline ice plants.

The USDA-Agricultural Research Service Principal Investigator (PI) will coordinate the overseas work on the project in South Africa and Italy/Mediterranean Basin, and will collect samples from the invasive range in California. The PI at the Centre for Biological Control at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South frica, will collect plant and insect samples from the South African native range, conduct the genetic origin analyses for samples from South Africa, the Mediterranean and California, and conduct preliminary tests of host range and efficacy to prioritize one candidate agent in South Africa. The PI from the Biotechnology and Biological Control Agency (BBCA), Rome, Italy, will collect ice plant samples and ship to the South African PI for genetic analysis, and will make observations and collections of potential candidate biological control agents.