Location: Great Basin Rangelands ResearchTitle: Ecology, genetics, and biological control of invasive annual grasses in the Great Basin
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/11/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Several annual grass species native to Eurasia, including cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), red brome (B. rubens), and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) have become invasive in the western USA. These invasive species degrade rangelands by compromising forage, outcompeting native flora, and exacerbating the risk, severity, and frequency of wildifre by providing excessive amounts of fine, readily combustible fuel. Researchers at ARS-Reno study and document the ecological effects of these invasive annual grasses and seek environmentally sound control strategies, including classical biological control agents from the native ranges of the invasive grass species. Recent surveys for potential biocontrol agents in Italy, Serbia, and Bulgaria yielded at least two new species of plant-feeding mites. These mites are currently under study to determine their suitability as biocontrol agents of cheatgrass, medusahead and red brome.