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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #441642

Research Project: Continued Work to Determine Genetic Origin of Invasive Common Ice Plants in California and to Prioritize Candidate Biological Control Agents

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Project Number: 2030-22000-033-011-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Apr 15, 2022
End Date: Apr 14, 2023

Complete sampling of crystalline ice plant in California and Mexico through a network of collaborators. 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 in the U.S. Sample these area(s) of origin in South Africa or the Mediterranean Basin 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. Ship one candidate agent to the USDA-ARS in Albany, California for quarantine testing of host range.

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 Africa, will conduct the genetic origin analyses for samples from South Africa, the Mediterranean and California, collect insects as prospective biological control agents, 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. Depending on the results of the genetic work, either PI will ship one candidate agent to the U.S.