There’s a new pest in town and it’s threatening one of the area’s top crops: avocados. The six-legged Asian shot hole borer was first discovered in Los Angeles County in 2003 by Bob White of Bartlett Tree Experts. Primary research is now being done by Drs. Akif Eskalen and Richard Stouthamer of UC Riverside, with assistance from researchers at UC Santa Barbara in the Riparian InVasion Research Laboratory (RIVR lab).
Cross-published to Phys.org - Shot hole borers threatening Ventura County avocado orchards
Researchers from UC Santa Barbara are collaborating in a multiagency effort to restore a 13-mile stretch of the Santa Clara River — from Fillmore to Santa Paula — to its natural riparian state - See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2014/014610/alien-invasion#sthash.9BvSSd2H.dpuf
What do you do when a problem is also a solution? Such is the case with exotic tamarisk (a.k.a., Tamarix spp., saltcedar), criticized for its ability to take over riverbanks, salinize soil, increase fire risk, and trap river sediments, among other ills. Among the actions taken to reduce tamarisk populations was the development of a biological control agent, the tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp.), which eats the leaves in both its adult and larval (pictured above) stages.
California Sea Grant awarded new project led by Tom Dudley and Ryan Hechinger, associate research biologists with the Marine Science Institute, and Armand Kuris, professor of Zoology, Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology. It is entitled: “Could the Release of Snail Parasites Halt the New Zealand Mud Snail?” Working with Dudley and Kuris will be Kevin Lafferty of the U.S. Geological Society.
The NZMS introduction and spread is a hot topic among researchers and is becoming a publicly discussed issue, however the effect of these invasive snails on ecosystems still remain less well known than other invaders like Zebra and Quagga Mussels.
In arid West, a foreign legion of beetles takes on a thirsty invader. Scientists say the beetles released on Southwest riverbanks could tame the water-sucking tamarisk trees.
More than 200 scientists from across the country have sent a letter to the Obama administration urging the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider a rule, in the final approval stages, that would allow two invasive grasses, Arundo donax and Pennisetum purpureum, to qualify as advanced biofuel feedstock under the nation’s renewable fuel standard.
Randy Long, a new graduate student in the the RIVR lab, was awarded a California Weed Science Society scholarship to study insect-weed interactions in riparian systems.