Tiny mite could prove a ‘mighty’ weapon in the fight against one of the UK’s most invasive weeds

CABI scientists are stepping up the fight against one of the UK’s most invasive non-native aquatic weeds.

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Crassula is an aquatic plant that can take on various growth forms; able to act as a submerged, emergent, or semi-terrestrial species.

Approval has been given for the release of a novel biological control agent – the mite, Aculuscrassulae – to assess its ability in the real-world environment to suppress Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii), also known as New Zealand pigmyweed. This follows carefully controlled laboratory testing to ensure the safe, controlled release of the mite in the UK.

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Does travel stress strengthen invasiveness?

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Research has already shown that invasive species tend to be more tolerant to environmental stress than related non-invasive species. However, a recent study published in Biological Invasions, set out to discover whether this stress tolerance was an inherent trait or whether it was something acquired en route from their natural habitat to the new one.

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CABI’s ISC datasheets contribute to regulatory action against high-risk freshwater invasive species in the USA

<i>Rutilus rutilus</i> (roach); adult fish on display. Subaqueous Vltava, Prague Czech Republic. April, 2011 (Copyright: released into the public Domain by Larel Jakubec/Prague, Czech Republic)
Rutilus rutilus (roach); adult fish on display. Subaqueous Vltava, Prague Czech Republic. April, 2011 (Copyright: released into the public Domain by Larel Jakubec/Prague, Czech Republic)

Aquatic invasive species threaten aquatic resources by negatively impacting native organisms and altering ecosystems. They have a competitive advantage over native species because they lack natural enemies to control their spread, they grow and reproduce rapidly, and also adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions.

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