Invasive Species Resources
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While climate change is a burden to many species, it’s a boon to some non-native plants and animals. The sudden population growth and expansion of unchecked species can have a detrimental effect on native habitat, agriculture, and human health. Environmental Resilience Institute researchers are working to understand the risks posed by disease-carrying insects, such as tick and mosquitoes, and how invasive species are affecting established ecosystems. See also: Climate Implications – Invasive Species and Pests.
University of Texas at Austin.
The cactus moth has a wingspan of only about an inch, but this invasive insect has the potential to cause largescale agricultural and ecological devastation in Texas, according to the first study of cactus moths in Texas. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Invasive Species Project based at Brackenridge Field Laboratory in Austin have found that four native species of prickly pear cactus — and the species that rely on them — face a serious health threat from the moth.
Purdue University. News. (Indiana).
Texas A&M University. AgriLife Extension Service.
USDA NIFA research investment in Texas A&M AgriLife leads to breakthrough in fighting agricultural plant diseases. Researchers have made a discovery that will help combat fastidious pathogens, which cost U.S. agriculture alone billions of dollars annually.
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.