Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 Stiltgrass Summit

The 2010 Stiltgrass Summit, hosted by the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area, is scheduled for August 11 - 12 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Registration and conference information can be found at:

Time Lapse of Gulf Oil Spill

This two minute video, released by NASA, shows a space based view of the burning Deep water Horizon oil rig and the horrifying oil spill that has followed. The images taken, using a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, were hand picked to best showcase the disaster. The images begin with the oil rig explosion and run through May 24. Click here to see the video.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dengue Fever in Florida

The Florida Department of Health reported that three more cases of locally acquired Dengue Fever were reported in Key West residents last week. Click here to read more on Dengue Fever. To read more on the arboviruses in Florida, click here.

Birders Contribute Data on Invasive Plant Spread

In an effort to connect ties between bird's feeding habits and invasive plant spread, researchers provided birders from four U.S. states questionnaires on daily bird plant encounters. The study laid the ground work on the role of native birds in the seed dispersal of invasive plants throughout the United States. Click here to read more.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Geocaching in Idaho

In Idaho, geocachers are tracking down hidden containers that hold data on noxious weeds. Geocaching is a global phenomenon where recreationists use GPS receivers and other navigational tools to locate any of the million plus containers, called caches, hidden in areas around the globe. This new epidemic forces you to go to places you have never gone before and if a noxious weed is found you report where it is. Geocaching helps control or eradicate noxious weeds. Click here to read more.

Fungus Causes Wilting on Tree of Heaven

A Verticillium fungus is causing wilt in some tree of heaven populations in the eastern United States. It has been found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Keep a lookout for wilting/dying leaves on tree of heaven. Click here to see symptoms/pictures.

Friday, June 25, 2010

World Ocean Day

The 2010 World Ocean Day was held in Lagos, Nigeria on June 8. It showcased the harmful effects of ship ballast water discharge which transports alien species and harmful aquatic algae and other pathogenic organisms from one part of the world to the other. June 8 is set aside every year as the global date to focus on the ocean and the role it plays. Because organizations and some individuals have engaged in environmentally unfriendly manners, this year's World Ocean Day focused on ship ballast water and invasive species. Click here to read more.

Vines into Art

A Bethesda couple, Seth Goldstein and Paula Stone, don't go to their local supply store to gather materials to make art. They go into the woods to get theirs. The retired engineers started making sculptures out of the invasive Oriental Bittersweet vine in 2008 and have been exhibited at Brookside Gardens and the Nature Conservancy headquarters. Click here to see their sculptures and read the full article.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whale Poop Cleans the Environment

New research has found that sperm whale waste, a diarrhea-like substance, removes carbon from the atmosphere, helping to offset greenhouse gases that have been tied to global warming. In the Southern Ocean, sperm whales release 220,462 tons of carbon when they exhale carbon dioxide at the water's surface. However, their waste releases 440,925 tons of carbon. To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mediterranean Fruit Flies Found in Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services just announced that a number of Mediterranean fruit flies have been confirmed in Palm Beach County, Florida. The flies were found on traps in mango, loquat and sour orange trees. This is the first major outbreak of Med fly since the 9 county eradication program in 1997 and 1998. Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Invader Updater Summer 2010

The third issue of The Invader Updater has been released. This quarterly newsletter from the University of Florida/IFAS provides timely information for extension professionals on the topic of introduced and invasive vertebrate wildlife. Click here to view the issue.

Detailed National Land Cover Vegetation Map Released

The most detailed national U.S. land cover vegetation map has been released by the U.S. Geological Survey. The map will allow professionals to identify sufficient habitats that will support wildlife and will help facilitate the planning and management of biological diversity on a national and regional scale. Click here to read more about the map.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Invasive Species Have Same Impact as Oil Spills

Invasive species cling to our forests and smother them, climb our trees choking them to death, cover our landscapes altering the resources we use in our lives and coat the surface of our waterways. Invasive species are biologically equivalent to oil spills. Both change the interactions of local and regional ecosystems and alter lives directly and indirectly. Invasive species and oil spills remove resources, kill jobs, destroy wetlands, prevent human use of natural and managed landscapes and kill fish. The difference between these two; oil spill damage are predictable and invasive species damage is unknown. To read more about this topic, click here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Invasive Tallowtree Spreading Rapidly

A study by a USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station scientist shows the numbers of nonnative Chinese tallowtree in Louisiana, Mississippi and east Texas grew by about 370 percent over a 16-year period. The spread of the invasive plant may create problems for plants and wildlife along the Gulf coast. Click here for more information on the tallowtree study.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Young Grasshopper Beware

The USDA announced last week that they would allocate $11 million of its budget to efforts this summer to control the spread of native grasshoppers throughout eleven western states. These states include Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The money will go towards protecting four million acres of farmland, based on high estimates of grasshopper breeding going on during the summer. Click here to read more on this article.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eight National Parks Threatened by Oil Spill

The U.S. National Park Service as sent out personnel to eight national parks that could be affected by the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The eight national parks include Dry Tortugas National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Padre Island Seashore, De Soto National Memorial, Jean LaFitte Park and Preserve and Biscayne National Park. Personnel are currently assessing the current and future impacts of the oil spill and doing everything they can to prepare, in the event of a temporary closure. Click here to read more about the article.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Japanese Siltgrass Video

The River to River Cooperative Weed management Area in Southern Illinois has created a video on Japanese siltgrass. Click here to see the video.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Aliens Newsletter Now Available

The IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group has produced a newsletter called Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin. The newsletter is now available online. Click here to read the newsletter.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Monitoring Protocol for Early Detection of Invasive Species

The Eastern Rivers and Mountains and Northeast Temperate Networks of the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program just recently published the "Early Detection of Invasive Species: Surveillance Monitoring and Rapid Response Protocol." This document along with the 2008/2009 summary report and all species identification cards are public and available on-line at:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coming to Georgia...Genetically Engineered Trees

ArborGen, based in South Carolina, uses genetic engineering to grow more trees. They recently got approval from the USDA to plant 28 plots of eucalyptus trees in some southern states, including Georgia. The tree will be planted in Evans County. Dr. David Moorhead from UGA's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health says these trees require lots of water, have fire issues and are expensive to grow. Environmentalists worry this genetically engineered tree could be bad for Georgia. To read more, click here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Japanese Stiltgrass Disease Update

In 2009, a previously undescribed disease was found on the non-native invasive annual grass Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass). Diseased plants exhibited foliar lesions, wilting, and in some cases, death of entire plants. We identified the causal agent as a Bipolaris sp. similar to B. zeicola. We observed spores and associated structures characteristic of Bipolaris spp. growing from leaf lesions on field collected plants. Pure cultures of the fungus were made and spore suspensions were applied to laboratory-reared M. vimineum seedlings in growth chamber and greenhouse experiments. Initial symptoms appeared on seedlings in the growth chamber experiment within 72 h of inoculation and seedlings exhibited characteristic lesions within 10 d. The fungus was re-isolated from lesions, and the ITS region was sequenced to confirm its identity. In the greenhouse experiment, inoculated plants displayed characteristic lesions, and relatively greater spore loads increased disease incidence. Disease reduced seed head production by 40% compared to controls. This is the first report of a Bipolaris sp. causing disease on invasive M. vimineum. Following further analysis, including assays with co-occurring native species, this Bipolaris sp. may be considered as a biocontrol agent for invasive M. vimineum.

(By: Kleczewski, N. and S.L. Flory. 2010)

For abstract, click here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

GPS to be Upgraded by the Pentagon

Most may just associate the Global Positioning System with the navigation devices in your car, however GPS has become the center for the 21st century. It enables cargo companies to track shipments, guides firefighters to hot spots, helps people find lost dogs and rivals the Internet. A team of scientists and engineers are developing an $8 billion upgrade for the Global Positioning System. This upgrade will make the system more reliable, more widespread, and much more accurate. Click here to read more on the GPS upgrade.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Animals From Antarctic Look Like Plants

Six new animals have been found in Antarctica that look like plants rather than animals. The marine invertebrates were discovered on expeditions over the last two decades. These new species are known as sea whips or sea fans. These type of organisms are usually found in the tropics throughout the oceans of the world. This makes the new Antarctic animals all the more unusual. To read more the new Antarctic animals and to see a picture, click here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Final Rule For Two Noxious Weeds


May 3, 2010

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is adopting as a final rule, without change, an interim rule that amended the noxious weed regulations by adding Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum (Cavanilles) R. Brown) and maidenhair creeper (Lygodium flexuosum (Linnaeus) Swartz) to the list of terrestrial noxious weeds. This action is necessary to prevent the artificial spread of these noxious weeds within and into the United States.

This action is published in today’s May 3 Federal Register and was effective Oct. 19, 2009.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to the world’s largest collaborative project on invasive species; it may be of particular interest to educators, conservation groups, and resource managers.

Do you want to be part of the world’s largest scientific research project on invasive species? The ‘Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey’ is an international collaboration aimed at obtaining much-needed data on the abundance and distribution of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) across its native and introduced ranges. In our first field season last year, we received measurements and seed samples from 65 populations, with a majority from Europe – already one of the largest systematic field surveys of an invasive species. Our goal for this summer is 150 or more, with a stronger emphasis on the southern and mid-west to western United States.

This year we are hoping to increase participation among educators, as well as land managers and ‘citizen-scientists’ who may not have much formal science training. The survey involves a simple protocol that can be followed directly or incorporated into field courses and nature surveys. A population takes two people about 2-4 hours to measure. We are also planning to develop internet-based teaching modules and tools to aid with monitoring and managing this invasive plant. The sampling protocol, along with contact information is available at the Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey website: (note that you do not need to log in to the site to participate).

Ideal sampling time is 2-4 weeks after flowering finishes and ranges from early June in southern states (e.g. OK, AR, AL, GA, SC) and lower altitudes to mid to late July in northern states (e.g. OR, WA, ID, ND, MN, WI, MI, VT, ME), higher altitudes and Canada.

Please contact me if you would like to participate.

North American Coordinator
Dr. Robert Colautti
Biology Department
Duke University

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Everglades Hip Hop Music Video

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District partnered with a handful of young, talented musicians from Jacksonville to produce a song/video called "To the Everglades". The music video describes the men's experiences of their first trip to the Everglades National Park. They composed the lyrics and music and it was recorded by studio in Miami, Florida. Click here to see the video.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wheat Fungus Found in South Africa

Studies have found that two new forms of wheat fungus have been found in South Africa. The fungus is called Ug99 stem rust and is able to overcome resistance genes in wheat that normally prevent stem rust. This fungus is originally from Uganda or East Africa. The presence of these new forms means other areas are also vulnerable as the fungus can now migrate using wind. To read the full article on Ug99 stem rust, click here.