For the last seven decades, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has been leading the fight against nematodes—invasive, microscopic worms that can destroy seasons' worth of crops. However, researchers had been working in a facility that lacked the infrastructure to keep pace with their innovative work. On August 1, 2019, thanks to a $1.2 million grant from New York State and another $400,000 in federal funding, CALS cut the ribbon on the new Golden Nematode Quarantine Facility, located on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, NY. The facility is the only research program in North America with expertise in biology, resistance breeding and management of potato-cyst nematodes. At the lab, Cornell scientists work in tandem with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
Invasive Species Resources
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Cornell University. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Pennsylvania State University.
An $800,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will support a two-year effort to control and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species across Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on the Lake Erie Basin. The funding, through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, supports efforts to implement Pennsylvania’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Plan. It will directly support nine field projects to prevent or control the spread of aquatic invasive species, including: targeted control of Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) in Pymatuning Lake; the removal of red-eared slider turtles from Presque Isle Bay; and surveys of Natural Heritage Areas within the Lake Erie watershed.
Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s economy, freshwater resources, and native aquatic species. Pennsylvania Sea Grant announces 'there’s an app for that' with the launch of "PA AIS," a new, easy-to-use smart phone application. The "PA AIS" app is now available in the Apple App Store, with an Android version anticipated. The "PA AIS" app can be used in airplane mode or in areas outside of coverage, making it ideal for use in the field. Users can identify AIS and submit a report to the state AIS coordinator, including the location, severity, and photos of the suspected infestation. Illustrations help users learn more about each species to ensure accurate identification in the field. Prevention tips help educate freshwater enthusiasts such as anglers and boaters about the steps they can take to properly clean gear and ensure that AIS are not transported from one water body to another.
Virginia Tech researchers who helped identify the dangerous Giant Hogweed plants in Clarke County, Virginia, want residents to stay on the lookout for the plant with toxic sap that can cause severe burns — but also stressed that the weeds are believed to have been planted intentionally decades ago and haven’t spread in the years since. Anyone who suspects they have found Giant Hogweed should take photos, check online to compare the plant to giant hogweed photos, and then contact a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent.
Virginia Tech entomologist Muni Muniappan has warned of Tuta absoluta’s likely arrival into the United States since he began monitoring the pest's spread throughout Africa in 2012. Thanks to a joint grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Muniappan's team and collaborators will be able to model the pest's entry into the United States — protecting the country's billion-dollar tomato industry — before irreparable damage is caused. Tuta absoluta is a tomato pest native to South America. If left unmitigated, it has the potential to destroy 100 percent of tomato crops. In 2016, the pest caused a "tomato emergency" in such countries as Nigeria, where tomatoes are a lifeline for many smallholder farmers. With the U.S. as one of the world's leaders in tomato production, the pest's impact would be severe if nothing is done to stop it. The USDA's Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics Tools Initiative awarded the University of Virginia's Biocomplexity Institute and Virginia Tech the four-year, $500,000 grant to project the pest's movement and rate of spread into the U.S. The model, to be developed by the Biocomplexity Institute, will map the spread of invasive species over time, accounting for factors such as climate, biology, and demographic information.