Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Spread by trade and climate, bugs butcher America's forests

Insect pests, some native and others from as far away as Asia, can undermine forest ecosystems. For example, scientists say, several species of hemlock and almost 20 species of ash could nearly go extinct in the coming decades. Such destruction would do away with a critical sponge to capture greenhouse gas emissions, shelter for birds and insects and food sources for bears and other animals. Dead forests also can increase the danger of catastrophic wildfires.
Today's connected world enables foreign invaders to cross oceans in packing materials or on garden plants, and then reach American forests. Once here, they have rapidly expanded their ranges.
There is more:  Please see the original article by Michael Casey and Patrick Whittle, Associated Press that is available at MSN.com http://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/spread-by-trade-and-climate-bugs-butcher-americas-forests/ar-AAlepYn?li=BBnb7Kz.   

Monday, December 5, 2016

Executive Order -- Safeguarding the Nation from the Impacts of Invasive Species

Executive Order released on December 05, 2016
Safeguarding the Nation from the Impacts of Invasive Species

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and to ensure the faithful execution of the laws of the United States of America, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990, (16 U.S.C. 4701 et seq.), the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the Lacey Act, as amended (18 U.S.C. 42, 16 U.S.C. 3371-3378 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Noxious Weed Control and Eradication Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 7781 et seq.), and other pertinent statutes, to prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control, and to minimize the economic, plant, animal, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to prevent the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species, as well as to eradicate and control populations of invasive species that are established. Invasive species pose threats to prosperity, security, and quality of life. They have negative impacts on the environment and natural resources, agriculture and food production systems, water resources, human, animal, and plant health, infrastructure, the economy, energy, cultural resources, and military readiness. Every year, invasive species cost the United States billions of dollars in economic losses and other damages.

Of substantial growing concern are invasive species that are or may be vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease, which threaten human, animal, and plant health. The introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species create the potential for serious public health impacts, especially when considered in the context of changing climate conditions. Climate change influences the establishment, spread, and impacts of invasive species.

Click here to read the entire Executive Order

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Invasive Insects Cost the World How Much?!

An interesting article was recently published in Nature Communications looking at how much invasive insects cost worldwide.  Invasive insects are one of the more important categories of invasives, impacting shipping/trade, farming, ecology, forestry, health care, and more.

formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) damage.  Image credit: formosanus Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

The article evaluated 737 existing studies, books, and reports from 1911 through December 2015 on the  economic cost of invasive insects cost. The articles/book/reports were first evaluated based on reproducibility of results and of the 737 initial sources, only 158 contained usable and relevant economic estimates.  Evaluation of those studies show that invasive insects, at a minimum, US$70 billion per year for goods and services and US$6.9 billion per year for human health.

The article was submitted with supplementary material which included a spreadsheet of the studies and numbers gleaned from each source.  For more information on the study and specific numbers for certain insects, check out the article.

Source Article: Massive yet grossly underestimated global costs of invasive insects
Science Direct Article: Invasive insects: Underestimated cost to the world economy

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Thoughts from the International Congress of Entomology 2016

It has been a little over a week since we participated at the International Congress of Entomology 2016 in Orlando, FL and it was a great experience.  The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health hosted a booth in the Exhibit Hall for the week and we also participated in the Symposium: What Happens When Pest Occurrence Data is Shared: End of the World or New Horizons?

Image by: Rebekah D. Wallace
The conference had over 6,600 registered attendants and about half came from outside of the United States, representing 102 countries. It was a great opportunity to meet people we may not have another chance to otherwise.  In the six days that the Exhibit Hall was open and we were able to talk to over 260 people from at least 32 countries.  We talked at length with researchers from Nigeria, industry representatives from the U.K., academics from New Zealand, and more.  Some of the most interested attendees were the students who came from everywhere.  We were able to talk to people who had not heard of our program, those who only knew about one or two things that we do, and people who were avid supporters of Bugwood.

In working at the booth, we were able to make new connections with people who may be interested in using images from the Image Database in teaching and outreach.  Many were also interested in contributing images so that other researchers, teachers, students, etc. could have access to high-quality images.  We talked to people about EDDMapS and how we work with people in the invasive species community to map species occurrences across the U.S. and in Canada, and there were many people interested in potentially mapping in their own country, asking how we could work together to make that happen.  They learned about our smartphone apps and all of the types we have developed for reporting invasive species, identification, decision support, and more.  The teachers, and really anyone who has given a presentation, were interested in Bugwood Presents, our presentation database that allows you to upload, download, and embed presentations.

But, really, the greatest thing is when avid supporters would come to the booth and talk with other visitors about all of the things that we have done with them.  Countless projects, hours (and after-hours), travel time, webinars, e-mails, phone calls, and more with all of our partners is definitely worth it to hear how much people have been satisfied with the work we are doing.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

Monday, October 10, 2016

No-Till Agriculture Results in Greater Soil Microbe Biomass

Image by: Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Bugwood.org

A recent study by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences did a meta-data analysis of 62 studies across the world and found that there was greater soil microbe biomass in no-till agricultural systems as compared to conventional tillage agricultural systems.  Soil microbes are important because they breakdown plant biomass and release important nutrients back into the soil for absorption by other plants.  During 2010-11 in the U.S., about 23% land growing corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat was on a farm where no-till/strip-till was used on every acre and about 56% had at least some of their land in no-till/strip-till.  Tillage practices can vary greatly by region and soil type.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pollinators Threatened by Invasive Plants

"Invasive non-native plants have been found to reduce pollinator abundance and diversity, and disrupt pollinator services to some native plants, which could reduce seed production. Although our knowledge is still limited on the effects of invasive plants on pollinator abundance and diversity, and pollination of native plants, several studies have been conducted that answer some of those questions. Results of these studies will further our understanding of the influence of plant-pollinator interactions on native plant communities threatened by invasive plants." article by 
in TechLine, Invasive Plant News. The article contained summaries of several studies on this topic.

Click here to read the entire article.

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Whole Foods is selling invasive lionfish in Florida

Whole Foods is now selling invasive lionfish at its Florida locations.

From USA Today: Since lionfish were first spotted in Florida in the mid-1980s, they have continued to spread rapidly. Florida’s Wildlife Commission estimates there are millions of the fish, which have no predators, and have wreaked havoc on native fish and shrimp populations.
Florida officials have pushed for people to combat the species in the kitchen by catching the fish and eating it.
Whole Foods is simplifying the process for Floridians who aren't into diving for their fish.
The chain began selling lionfish for $8.99 a pound on Wednesday and plan to raise the price to $9.99 a pound June 1.
To read the entire artical Click here.

Lionfish, Pterois volitans
by Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org