CABI scientists have helped map the ferocious speed and probable cause of a devastating spread of the invasive alien tree Prosopis juliflora (Swartz DC) across an area equivalent to half of neighbouring Djibouti in the Afar Region of north eastern Ethiopia.
Invasive crazy ants threaten Christmas Island Red Crab populations, but a certain species of wasp might be able to help.
Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, is known for an abundance of Red Crabs, a species once recorded in numbers nearing 44 million. The Red Crab has captured the hearts of naturalists and nature novices alike, due to the beauty and magnificence of their yearly mass migration from land to sea to lay their eggs in the ocean. However, in recent years, they have suffered a tremendous decline of roughly 40 million, according to recent population surveys. The cause? Invasive crazy ants, which are believed to have been introduced by a ship sometime during the early 20th century.
Dr Pablo González-Moreno, one of CABI’s senior researchers with expertise in invasive plant ecology, has joined a workshop of international scientists concerned with investigating the invasive non-native species that pose the greatest threat to Gibraltar’s terrestrial and marine environments.
In this Q&A article we hear from three PhD students who have collectively spent over 11 years studying at the CABI Switzerland centre in Delémont working with scientists there to improve the monitoring and management of invasive species in Europe and Africa.
Find out from Judith Stahl, Benno Augustinus and Theo Linders about what they did, who they worked with and what’s in store after CABI.
Used as an effective method of controlling invasive species, biological control (or biocontrol) is the term given to the use of living organisms for controlling pests and invasive species. It can provide an effective, environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient way of controlling pest populations, helping to restore crop yields and farmer’s profits. However a recent study, focussing on invasive cassava mealybugs, has shown that biocontrol can also have some surprising knock-on effects.
CABI experts in the field of classical biological control are leading the fight to manage one of the UK’s most invasive weeds – Himalayan balsam – thanks to the nationwide release of the rust fungus Puccinia komarovii var. glanduliferae.
Dr Carol Ellison, who has over 30 years’ experience of the biological control of weeds using fungal pathogens, told a specially convened NERC-sponsored workshop on Himalayan Balsam at Royal Holloway, University of London, the rust release programme is progressing well but new strains are required in order to achieve countrywide control.