CABI helps map ferocious speed and likely cause of woody weed spread across Ethiopia

Prosopis on river
Riverbank invasion of Prosopsis

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.

 

Dr Urs Schaffner, who is supervising lead author Hailu Shiferaw for his PhD studies, contributed to the Scientific Reports published paper ‘Modelling the current fractional cover of an invasive alien plant and drivers of its invasion in a dryland ecosystem’, which shows that the Prosopis invaded 1.2 million ha of grassland/shrubland in just 35 years.

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How a wasp might save the Christmas Island red crab

By Stephanie Dittrich. Reblogged from Island Conservation.

Invasive crazy ants threaten Christmas Island Red Crab populations, but a certain species of wasp might be able to help.

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The Christmas Island red crab is a land crab endemic to Christmas Island and Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. Credit: John Tann, Wikimedia

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.

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Dangerous waterweed spreading in Southern Africa

By Baraka Rateng’. Reblogged from SciDev.Net.

Limnobium laevigatum
Top view of Limnobium laevigatum Copyright: Wikimedia Commons

A dangerous waterweed is spreading across water bodies in Southern Africa and could soon strangle life-supporting services such as fishing if it is not controlled, a scientist says.

The waterweed called Limnobium laevigatum or South American sponge plant floats on water bodies and has the potential to invade other plants and decrease biodiversity, according to experts.

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CABI shares expertise at workshop concerned with threat of invasive species to Gibraltar

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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.

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What’s it like doing a PhD with CABI?

The CABI Blog

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.

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Biological control against invasive agricultural pest slows deforestation across Southeast Asia

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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.

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CABI scientists are leading the fight to control one of the UK’s most invasive weeds – Himalayan balsam

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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.

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