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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #440910

Research Project: Quarantine Testing to Develop Biological Control of Old World Climbing Fern, Lygodium microphyllum, in Florida

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6032-22000-013-088-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 30, 2022

The objectives of this project plan are to develop environmentally safe, self-sustaining methods for the management of invasive weeds of exotic origin that threaten ecologically sensitive aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of the United States, with a focus on the southeastern region. This project is relevant to the NP 304 Action Plan, Component 2 – Weeds; Problem Statement 2B: Biological control and ecosystem research and Problem Statement 2C: Integrated approaches to weed management; Objective 2: Survey native habitats of the candidate weeds in their geographical areas of origin for potential biological control agents. Acquire and characterize biological control agents and conduct thorough host-specificity tests informed by molecular phylogeny to determine fundamental host range. [C2, PS 2B] The objectives specific to this project are: To conduct host-range tests on candidate biological control agents of Lygodium microphyllum, Old World climbing fern. Objective 1: Complete multigeneration host-specificity testing with Lygodium congeners for the sawfly Neostrombocerus albicomus. Objective 2: Complete the suite of host-specificity trials on Lygomusotima stria, including multigeneration testing. Objective 3: Continue host range testing with Callopistria exotica (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Objective 4: Colonize new collections of Lygodium stem borers to begin host-range testing and determine suitability for biological control.

Multigeneration testing of the sawfly Neostrombocerus albicomus will be conducted by caging adult sawflies on Lygodium microphyllum and Lygodium congeners and monitoring oviposition, development, and persistence over several generations. Additional host range testing will be completed on Lygomusotima stria as needed. No-choice host range testing will continue with Callopistria exotica, including with known hosts of congeners, and other tests will be conducted as needed.