Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week of September 28, 2009

ALERT: New York Flora Atlas reports new invader

Slender falsebrome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) has been found in two New York counties.

falsebromeAccording to the New York Flora Atlas, slender falsebrome is a perennial, herbaceous monocot that often forms dense patches and sometimes occurs as scattered individuals, primarily in forest understories but also growing in full sun.

A native of Eurasia and north Africa, this species is sometimes sold as an ornamental grass. It has the potential to become highly invasive and therefore should not be planted. A large infestation discovered by Steven Daniel in 2009 in Genesee County is the first report from New York. Bergen Swamp stewards observed this plant at this location since at least the late 1990s, but did not know what it was or that it was a potentially new invasive plant for the region. A second population was discovered in Tompkins County (approximately 85 miles from the Genesee County population) also in 2009. Therefore, this invasive species is probably widespread in at least western and central New York and has likely been overlooked.

In Washington state, the plant generally stays green throughout the year.

For more information, including photographs, visit the New York Flora Atlas.

For additional information about this species, including how to identify it, visit the King County, Washington website.

Photo by Glenn Miller, Courtesy of King County, Washington.


Another invasive grass to watch out for

New York Flora Association Blog

The New York Flora Association Blog recently posted an alert for false brome grass. Marilyn Jordan from The Nature Conservancy on Long Island is also concerned about wavy leaf basketgrass showing up in New York.

Oplismenus hirtellus (L.) P. Beauv. ssp. undulatifolius (Ard.) U. Scholz

This was reported through the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council listserve. According to USDA plants the subspecies is only found in MD, but postings to the ma-eppc listserv indicate it is also in VA and FL.

There may be taxonomic confusion with the species Oplismenus hirtellus. Wavy leaf basketgrass is more competitive than Japanese stilt grass, and “An ornamental variegated pink, green and white form, sold as O. hirtellus ‘Variegatus’ for hanging baskets, has spontaneously reverted to an all-green, wavy-leafed, very aggressive form under greenhouse conditions.”

The species has been sold in CT according to LIISMA SRC member J. Lehrer.

Information and photos of the species are available at: and


NOAA, EEA, and partners complete restoration project at Hempstead Harbor

HempsteadHarborToday, NOAA and its partners, including EEA Inc., celebrated the successful completion of a multi-year project to compensate the public for hazardous waste released into Hempstead Harbor, N.Y. The project restored salt marsh and coastal shoreline, and created important habitats for spawning, nursing and foraging fish and other wildlife.

"Coastal wetlands like this one provide important environmental and economic services," said Robert Haddad, Assessment and Restoration Division chief of NOAA's Office of Response & Restoration. "The completion of this habitat cleanup and restoration project will benefit fisheries and the wildlife and coastal communities that depend upon them."

The Applied Environmental Services property, designated as a Superfund site in 1986, was used as a petroleum and hazardous waste storage area from the 1930s to the 1970s. Improper handling and storage of these hazardous substances led to the contamination of groundwater, surface water, soils, sediments, and air.

Restoration took place across the harbor in Bar Beach Lagoon. NOAA partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York State agencies, the Town of North Hempstead, and EEA Inc. on activities that included the removal of invasive plant species and 3,000 cubic yards of soil and solid waste debris. Each of the excavated areas was backfilled with clean soils provided by the Town of North Hempstead. Volunteers helped plant more than 8,000 native marsh wetland plants and coastal grasses, shrubs and trees.

"This restoration project also will improve the quality of life for communities in the vicinity of Hempstead Harbor," said Jon Kaiman, the Town of North Hempstead Supervisor. "The town is proud to have played a key role in the turnaround of this critical wildlife habitat."

This project was the first in the nation to be funded by a Superfund natural resource damage settlement that included money for performance monitoring. Efforts have succeeded in establishing a diverse population of salt marsh and coastal plant and animal species, including marsh vegetation, invertebrates, fish and birds.

NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program restores habitats and communities that have been harmed by oil spills, hazardous substance releases, and ship groundings. Since the 1980s, this program has worked with other agencies, industry and communities to successfully protect natural resources at more than 500 waste sites and settled almost 200 natural resource damage assessment cases, generating almost $450 million for restoration projects nationwide.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

Photo Credit: NOAA


Northeastern Weed Science Society Conference

Dear NEWSS Members and Members to Be:

The Annual NEWSS Conference is fast approaching. The title and author(s) submission site is now active for the 64th Annual Meeting to be held at the Marriott Boston Cambridge, Two Cambridge Center, 50 Broadway, Cambridge, MA January 4‐10th, 2010.

Go to (or use the sign‐in link at and sign in under new user to create your own password for the site.

To submit your title, click on new presentation. Simply follow the site’s step by step process for submission. Add your title, then choose topic type and section by using the pull‐down menus. Be sure to indicate if you are competing in the graduate student contest via the pull down menu – this is critical. Enter author(s) and affiliations and be sure to click on the square indicating which author is the presenter. Please be consistent with your colleagues in the naming of your institute or business. Click on the ”Submit” button when you have entered all the information. You will receive an email confirmation that your title has been submitted.

The deadline for title submission is Wed. September 23.

If you have any questions or encounter any problems, please contact Mark VanGessel ( or Greg Armel (
We look forward to another great meeting this year.

NEWSS Public Relations

Barb Scott
Research Associate
Weed Science
Univ of DE, REC
16483 County Seat Hwy
Georgetown, DE 19947



Job Announcement: Invasive Species Program Coordinator

POSITION TITLE: Invasive Species Program Coordinator
LOCATION: Sugarloaf Key, FL
DATE PREPARED: September 25, 2009
SALARY: $35,000/yr + benefits

The No Invasives Left Behind program implements exotic plant control projects on private and public lands throughout the Florida Keys (Monroe County). It is supported by three grants from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Florida. Funding is secured annually, but the program is expected to receive continued funding.

The Invasive Species Program Coordinator participates in the management and coordination of the No Invasives Left Behind Program, and leads efforts to secure funding for future years. Duties are split between office work and field work.

Applicants should have good communication, organizational, and computer skills.

Duties will include one or more of the following functions:
•Supervises a seasonal invasive species control team
•Removes exotic plant species
•Coordinates community support and gives community presentations
•Selects priority sites for invasive species control and collects pre and post treatment vegetation data
•Maintains budgets, assists with grant reporting and grant writing
•May be asked to assist with unrelated vegetation monitoring projects

POSTING DEADLINE: Open until filled


Keith A. Bradley, Assistant Director
22601 SW 152 Ave.
Miami, FL 33170

Email: bradley[at]


Florida's 2009 IP list now online

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s 2009 List of Invasive Plant Species is now online. It is also in the Fall 2009 Wildland Weeds, which you should be getting any day now. The brochure version is at the printer now.

Thanks so much to the List Committee for creation of the list, and to Karen Brown for putting it all together for print form.

Keith A. Bradley
Assistant Director
The Institute for Regional Conservation
Miami, Florida


Australian pine article

For those interested in reading about another "controversial" project to remove Australian pines -- this time in Miami. Link


Capital/Mohawk PRISM meeting October 9

The next meeting of the Capital/Mohawk PRISM will be at Schodack Island State Park on October 9 starting at noon. The meeting will include talks on restoration by George Robinson from SUNY Albany and Eric Kiviat from Hudsonia. Casey Holzworth will lead a field trip after the meeting. Hope to see you there.

Peg Sauer


New York Times Editorial: The Future of Our Parks

This week, PBS will broadcast Ken Burns’s new six-part series on the national parks, a chronicle of the rich 158-year history of what the series calls “America’s Best Idea” — setting aside remarkable places and landscapes for future generations to enjoy.

Mr. Burns’s documentary makes clear that no one should take that idea or the park system it created for granted. From the start, the project has been encumbered by political shortsightedness and inadequate financing, with the parks themselves constantly threatened by the encroachment of the world around them.

The parks’ future is the concern of a major new report from the National Parks Second Century Commission — an independent body organized and financed by the National Parks Conservation Association. It offers an unsparing look at the many problems that threaten the parks and sensible remedies for addressing them. [...]

The Park Service’s annual budget of $2.4 billion is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total federal budget, and more generous annual appropriations would certainly seem within reach. But the commission would also create a tax-exempt national parks endowment to attract private money and help free park budgets from the ebb and flow of Congressional outlays.

Making sure that the system lives up to its inherent promise involves more than money. Given new threats from global warming and invasive species, the commission wants the service to strengthen its scientific capabilities. It also urges the service to broaden its educational mission to reach more young people.

In some ways, it’s a miracle that the park system is as resilient as it is. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said that he will take the commission’s recommendations seriously, and we hope President Obama will, too. The “best idea” needs to be protected and celebrated.

Read the editorial at link.


Maine DEP fighting hydrilla in Damariscotta Lake

hydrillaJEFFERSON (NEWS CENTER) -- Like a shorefront SWAT team, workers from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) descended on a small lagoon on Damariscotta lake on Monday.

Their target is a flimsy, green underwater plant, called Hydrilla, which was discovered growing in that lagoon.

Paul Gregory of the DEP describes Hydrilla as one of the most aggressive of all invasive plant species. The DEP and lakeside property owners want to stop the plant before it can spread.

The Hydrilla was discovered just last week by a resident who had been to a training class held by the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association. He was paddling a kayak around, in search of invasive plants when he spotted the Hydrilla.

The DEP has placed screens across the two openings to the lagoon, to try to prevent pieces of the plant from floating out. And they're laying plastic mats on the lake bottom, just outside the lagoon, to stop the plant from taking root in new areas.

Damariscotta Lake is only the second place in Maine where Hydrilla has been found. The other is Pickerel Pond in Livermore.

Paul Gregory of the DEP says the plant is a real threat to water quality and to the general health of lakes and ponds, because it can choke off all other vegetation, use degrade water quality and eventually turn an area into swamp.

Damariscotta Lake is a large lake, but both the DEP and the Watershed Association say they were surprised at the Hydrilla find, and are treating it very seriously.

Photo courtesy of



Give birds a break: Lock up the cat

By NATALIE ANGIER, New York Times Science Section

Halloween came to our house early this year.

The other day I looked out the window and saw a strange black cat sauntering through our yard. It was a beautiful animal, with bright penny eyes and fur that gleamed like a newly polished shoe, but still the sight turned me ghoulish. So I ran outside, hollered, stamped my feet and finally managed to chase the little witch’s sidekick away. [...]

Experts disagree sharply these days over how to manage our multitudes of stray and feral cats, with some saying off to the pound, others preaching a policy of catch, neuter and release, and everybody wishing there were other options to click. Yet when it comes to pet policy, and the question of whether it’s O.K. to let your beloved Cleo, Zydeco or Cocoa wander at will and have their Hobbesian fun, the authorities on both sides of the alley emphatically say, No. There are enough full-time strays; don’t add in your chipper. It is not fair to the songbirds and other animals that domestic cats kill by the billions each year. New research shows that neighborhoods like mine are particularly treacherous, Bermuda Triangles for baby birds.

Peter P. Marra, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo, pointed out that cats were the only domesticated animal permitted to roam. “Pigs have to stay in pens, chickens have to stay in pens,” he said. “Why are cats allowed to run around and do what their instincts tell them to do, which is rampage?” [...]

In the view of many wildlife researchers, a pet cat on a lap may be a piece of self-cleaning perfection, but a pet cat on the loose is like a snakefish or English ivy: an invasive species. Although domestic cats have been in this country since the colonial era, they are thought to be the descendants of a Middle Eastern species of wild cat, and there is nothing quite like them native to North America. As a result, many local prey species are poorly equipped to parry a domestic cat’s stealth approach. “People fool themselves into believing that by simply putting a bell on a cat they could prevent mortality to birds,” Mr. Schroeder said. “But a bell ringing means nothing to a bird.”

Read the full article at link.


New invasive species in Missisquoi Bay, Vermont

State Natural Resources officials say that variable-leaved watermilfoil is now in the bay. It can "hitchhike" on boats and other recreational equipment, and it's also a popular aquarium species. Researchers say the plant is a concern because it can crowd out other beneficial plants.

Last year, the variable-leaved watermilfoil was spotted in Halls Lake in Newbury.



Fish and Wildlife Service releases its climate change plan

By Kim McGuire
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

As part of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s push on climate change, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its plan to guide the agency’s future efforts regarding impacts on wildlife.

The plan, which is available for public review and comment over the next 60 days, will help navigate future responses to things like changing wildlife migration patterns, the spread of invasive species, changing precipitation patterns and rising sea levels.

“The growing impacts from climate change on wildlife, plants, and watersheds are a call to action,” said Tom Strickland, assistant secretary of the interior for fish and wildlife and parks. “These impacts call for a coordinated and strategic response from the Department and its bureaus. We will help lead a national response that is grounded in sound science, and adaptive, landscape-scale conservation approach , and collaboration with partners. This is a crucial first step in that direction.” [...]

Read the story at link.


Volunteers sought to remove invasive plants

West Hartford, Connecticut - The West Hartford Land Trust is asking for volunteers to help remove invasive plants from 1.5 acres about a mile from the town center.

The effort, the latest to clear the land of nonnative plants, will happen from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 10 at the parcel, 1157 Farmington Ave. People should bring their own gloves, pruners, loppers, bow saws or other tools, and should wear long pants, long sleeves and sturdy shoes. Lunch and drinks will be offered.

Those interested in volunteering may call 860-331-3241 and leave a message, or send an e-mail to info[at]


Woman campaigns for invasive plant removal in Vermont

By Dorothy Pellett,

CHARLOTTE — Susan Smith’s canoe was out of the water and parked on her lawn on a recent day — but Lake Champlain’s shorelines are never far from her thoughts.

For two summers, Smith has led a campaign to remove the invasive European frogbit plant from Town Farm Bay in Charlotte. Volunteers and employees removed seven tons of the leafy weed during a stretch of only seven weeks this summer.

Frogbit’s swift rate of growth threatens wildlife that depends on native plants, fish and insects for food. Smith and other volunteers have counted 41 species of frogs, turtles, snakes and birds, including several sightings of a Great White Egret.

Read the article at link.


Invasives threaten N.Y.'s natural order

By Michael Risinit,

EABIn the 1997 movie "Men in Black," the characters played by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones work for an agency monitoring and managing alien activity on Earth. Their charges include a host of not-of-this-world creatures: worms that make a nice cup of coffee, large insects that drink sugar water and human-looking individuals blinking two sets of eyelids.

Of course, in the real world those don't exist (as far as we know, anyway). But other interlopers do, such as swallow-wort, zebra mussels, Chinese mitten crabs and northern snakeheads. They are among some 4,000 or so species in the United States that are both non-native (alien) and damaging to their new digs. Be they animal, plant or pathogen, such beings are called invasive species.

As a threat, invasives have been judged second only to habitat loss when it comes to a region's biodiversity - the abundance and variety of living things. Northern snakeheads, originally from China, can wipe out native fish populations. Chinese mitten crabs can be bad news for the Hudson River's blue crabs, and their burrowing can destabilize stream banks and earthen dams. Swallow-wort, imported from Europe, is a menace to monarchs. The butterflies are fooled into laying eggs on a plant that cannot support their offspring.

There's no official list yet of the dozens of invasive species calling New York home. But there's a definition. An invasive species is "non-native to the ecosystem under consideration, whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health," according to the Final Report of the New York State Invasive Species Task Force. That harm "must significantly outweigh any benefits," the 2005 report said.

Government and private organizations are trying to eradicate or control the ones here - mile-a-minute vine, golden nematode - and keep others at bay.

The plants, insects, diseases and fish that shouldn't be here, but are, can be the stuff of bad dreams. Ed McGowan, a science director for the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, is part of a Lower Hudson Valley coalition addressing the threat of invasive species. Where others "see greenery, scenery," he sees trouble for the region's natural order. [...]

One of his current battles is with mile-a-minute weed, a kudzu-like vine capable of growing more than 20 feet in a year. It forms dense mats, chokes out native vegetation and can kill trees. The plant, a native of eastern Asia, was accidentally introduced in the 1930s when it hitchhiked with nursery stock. His weapon? Goats.

Two goats, on loan from the Glynwood Center in Philipstown, spent much of their summer on Stony Point's Iona Island, a former military complex now part of Bear Mountain State Park. The vine with triangular leaves and barbs wasn't their first choice to munch on, McGowan said, "but they got to it eventually."

"It involves a lot of management. You need fences. You need to be concerned about coyotes in this area (who could decide to dine on the goats)," McGowan said as an osprey flapped above the nearby Hudson River.

The pair were charged with eating the plant into submission, which the goats did until they were relocated to another enclosure. That happened every 12 days. The goats left their former pens as smooth as putting greens, McGowan said. But shortly afterward, the areas were again lush with mile-a-minute.

Sheep, instead, were on duty at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River. There, they were shepherded among several plots every three days. Their periodic return seems to keep mile-a-minute vine in check, compared to the goats' eat-it-and-leave-it approach.

Their reappearance, said Gary Kleppel, an Albany University, SUNY, professor, and his graduate student, Caroline Girard, mimics the behavior of deer and other plant-eating animals that would intermittently pass by and dine. Native grass was starting to sprout in once mile-a-minute-only territory.

"These two plants are in a desperate battle for dominance," said Kleppel, director of the school's Biodiversity Conservation Program. "If you take its (mile-a-minute) edge away, look what happens." [...]

Emerald ash borers, a beetle whose larvae can wipe out ash trees, probably arrived in the United States on wood crates and pallets aboard cargo ships or airplanes coming from its native Asia. It was found this year in western New York.

The round goby, a fish native to the Black and Caspian seas, competes with and preys on native fish. It has been found near Buffalo and Rochester, most likely descended from those that hitched a ride in ships' ballast water and were discharged into the Great Lakes.

"It's hard not to answer ‘all of them,' " said Steve Sanford, director of the state's Office of Invasive Species Coordination, when asked which invader he worries about most.

His office is to send a report to the state Legislature by January listing New York's invasive species and how to deal with them.

"More and more, society is realizing all the harm that comes from invasive species," he said. "When it upsets the balance, usually the system functions to a certain degree, but certain things are going to be lost. It depends on how much you value biodiversity."

Along with reshuffling nature, those invading plants and animals carry a financial impact. The annual cost of invasive species to the U.S. economy is about $138 billion, according to the federal government, including agricultural losses, infrastructure damage and management costs. Zebra mussels - small mollusks originally from Russia - alone account for about $270 million in economic damage in North America, said Dave Strayer of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook in Dutchess County. He characterized the figure as an underestimate.

He and his colleagues have been studying zebra mussels in the Hudson River since their appearance in 1991. The thumb-size shellfish can clog water pipes and power-plant intakes.

"Zebra mussels came into the river and turned it upside down. In the last few years, we've seen evidence that parts of the river are coming back," Strayer said.

The mussels upset the river's food chain by sucking out much of the phytoplankton - the tiny plant life - upon which other river creatures depend. Recently, Strayer and fellow scientists have found fewer older and bigger zebra mussels in the river, leaving them to wonder what's causing the change. While the future of zebra mussels in the Hudson plays out, he said, the average person's concern should be about invasive species in general. More needs to be done to focus attention on the issue, Strayer said.

"Let's stop it. Let's do better," he said. "We've been very slow in coming around to controlling invasive species. But we're not taking this problem seriously enough."

Read the full article at link.

PHOTO: New York DEC forester Michael Callan shows a sample of an emerald ash borer, an invasive species of insect, at Graham Hills Park in Mount Pleasant. (Stuart Bayer/The Journal News)


Mile-a-minute vine confirmed in two new counties in Massachusetts

Mile-a-minute vine (Polygonum perfoliatum), an invasive vine native to eastern Asia, has been confirmed in two new counties in Massachusetts.

Also known as "devil's tail" or "Asiatic tear-thumb," mile-a-minute vine was first discovered in Massachusetts in 2006 in two locations: Falmouth (Barnstable County) and Milton (Norfolk County). Through a multi-agency effort to uncover new populations of this pervasive weed before it becomes established in Massachusetts, mile-a-minute vine was confirmed this past summer in the towns of Greenfield and Erving (Franklin County) and in Littleton (Middlesex County). In addition, a report from Boston in August led state officials to two seedlings which were immediately removed. A survey of the Boston site revealed no other mile-a-minute plants.

The plants found in Greenfield were removed after identification was confirmed, and state officials will continue to monitor the site over the next several years to remove any new seedlings that may be found. The mile-a-minute vine populations in Erving and Littleton are currently being assessed to determine the best way to manage them. The previously known populations of mile-a-minute vine in Milton and Falmouth are being managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, with the goal of eradicating the plants.

Mile-a-minute vine can be recognized by its perfectly triangular leaves, barbed stems, and clusters of metallic-blue berries. If left alone, this vine can quickly cover large areas and smother any plants in its path. Several other vines may be confused with this invasive species, including bindweed, fleecevine, and Asiatic bittersweet. The University of Connecticut offers a comparison of similar species on their website:

For more information about mile-a-minute vine, or to report a potential sighting in Massachusetts, visit


National Park Service Internships Available

Looking for an opportunity to see many National Parks in the southeastern US and assist in preserving their precious natural and cultural resources?

The Student Conservation Association, in partnership with the National Park Service NPS), is assisting in a nationwide effort to eradicate invasive, exotic plants from NPS lands. After habitat loss, invasive, exotic species are considered the greatest threat to global diversity.

The NPS Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team (SE-EPMT) is looking for interns to be on a traveling team to manage invasive, exotic plants in 18 NPS units. These parks are located in the Piedmont, Appalachian Highlands and the Cumberland Plateau provinces in seven southeastern states (KY, TN, VA, NC, AL, NC, and SC). Park sites include Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (KY/TN/VA), Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (TN/KY), Obed Wild and Scenic River (TN), Blue Ridge Parkway (NC/VA) and Mammoth Cave National Park (KY).

We are based in Asheville, NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the gateway to the Smoky Mountains National Park. The Asheville area has a thriving arts community, a vibrant and inviting downtown, diverse outdoor adventures, and many historic and architectural attractions. Assistance with housing is possible.

The SE-EPMT typically works two types of schedule: either four 10 hour days with three days off or eight 10 hour days with six days off. Four day weeks are usually Monday thru Thursday and eight day weeks are Monday thru Monday.

Position Duties: Implement and document invasive plant management control methods including manual, mechanical and chemical techniques using chainsaws, pole saws, brushcutters, hand tools, manual and gas powered sprayers and GPS. The goal is to protect National Park Service sites from these exotic fauna, including Japanese Honeysuckle, Japanese Spirea, Coltsfoot, Privet, and Kudzu.

Training Opportunities Include: Safe and effective use of chainsaws and other power tools; safe and effective use of herbicides; use of personal protective equipment; safety-first aid and CPR; ATV training and operation; defensive driving; Red Card (wildland fire fighter)certification; use of GPS/GIS and various database and computer programs.

Minimum Requirements: Applicant must be 25 years or under, have a valid drivers license, have reliable transportation to office site in Asheville, NC, be capable of navigating rough terrain carrying heavy loads (40lbs+) under potential extreme weather conditions.

Projected Start Date: October 19, 2009

For more information please contact::

Nancy Fraley
National Park Service
Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team
67 Ranger Drive
Asheville, NC 28805
828 - 296 - 0850 x100


Toby Obenauer
Team Leader
Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team
67 Ranger Drive
Asheville, NC 28805


Weevil army attacks weeds

By YVONNE NAVA, NBC Connecticut

weevilCall in the wee black weevils! An army of them is being used to fight a problem in Greenwich. Scientists are releasing the insects to get rid of the fast-growing invasive weed known as the "mile-a-minute vine." The plant grows 6 inches per day and blankets shrubs, hedges and trees.

“It’s like a wall of green in some places,” Donna Ellis, a scientist at the University of Connecticut who is also a member of the state’s Invasive Plant Working Group, told “We could double the number of weevils next year.”

Scientists plan to unleash 7,000 of the little weevils in five towns. Fairfield County, which includes Greenwich, will be the focus of next year’s weevil release because scientists are finding the heaviest concentration of mile-a-minute there.

The fancy name for this vine, which is native to eastern Asia, is Persicaria perfoliata. Officials with Audubon Connecticut say the weed probably was introduced in our state via a load of trees and shrubs trucked to Greenwich Audubon land from Pennsylvania.

So far, the vine has been spotted in five of the state’s eight counties.

“Instead of seeing the trees and the view, the view is just blocked,” Ellis said of an infestation in Quinnipiac River State Park in North Haven after visiting a monitoring site this week.

Read the article at link.


Genome of Irish potato famine pathogen decoded

By Nicole Davis, Broad Communications

A large international research team has decoded the genome of the notorious organism that triggered the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century and now threatens this season’s tomato and potato crops across much of the US.

Published in the September 9 online issue of the journal Nature, the study reveals that the organism boasts an unusually large genome size — more than twice that of closely related species — and an extraordinary genome structure, which together appear to enable the rapid evolution of genes, particularly those involved in plant infection. These data expose an unusual mechanism that enables the pathogen to outsmart its plant hosts and may help researchers unlock new ways to control it.

“This pathogen has an exquisite ability to adapt and change, and that’s what makes it so dangerous,” said senior author Chad Nusbaum, co-director of the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “We now have a comprehensive view of its genome, revealing the unusual properties that drive its remarkable adaptability. Hopefully, this knowledge can foster novel approaches to diagnose and respond to outbreaks.”

“Our findings suggest a ‘two-speed’ genome, meaning that different parts of the genome are evolving at different rates,” said co-lead author Sophien Kamoun, head of the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK. “Future sequencing of additional strains and close relatives of this pathogen will help test this hypothesis and could transform our understanding of how it adapts to immune plants."

Read the full article at link.


No comments: