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USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
Along the Rio Grande in Texas, tiny insects are taking a big bite out of an invasive weed that competes for limited water resources vital to agriculture and native vegetation. Several years ago, ARS scientists released two insect species as part of a biocontrol program to kill giant reed (Arundo donax).
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Division of Environmental Health. State Veterinarian.
In 2019, the Alaska Office of the State Veterinarian, in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the University of Alaska, began the Alaska Submit-A-Tick Program. Through this program, individuals who find ticks on themselves, their family members, pets, or wildlife (e.g. hunted or trapped animals) can submit ticks for species identification and pathogen testing. Researchers are asking Alaskans to submit ticks to help determine which tick species are currently in the state. Tick submissions will also help us learn more about how ticks are being imported into Alaska so that we can create effective strategies to limit their introduction. Ticks can transmit bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can cause diseases in humans and wildlife. Pathogen testing allows us to assess tickborne disease risk in the state.
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. CPHST. Identification Technology Program.
ITP and the APHIS PPQ S&T Beltsville Lab are pleased to announce the release of IDphy: Molecular and Morphological Identification of Phytopthora Based on the Types, ITP’s first pathogen tool. This website offers PPQ and its partners the most complete, valid, and up-to-date resource for identifying the culturable species of Phytophthora. IDphy includes detailed standard operating procedures for all steps involved in culturing, sequencing, and identifying suspect samples, covering both molecular and morphological methods. Some species of Phytophthora are devastating plant pathogens that have a significant impact on agriculture and natural ecosystems.
USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
Dogs specially trained by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have proven to be the most efficient way to detect huanglongbing—also known as citrus greening—according to a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, the only solid hope of curtailing the spread of citrus greening is to eliminate trees with the disease as quickly as possible to prevent further spread. Early detection of the citrus greening pathogen is crucial because trees can be infected and act as a source to spread the disease months or years before showing symptoms that are detectable by the naked eye. ARS plant epidemiologist Timothy R. Gottwald with the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, discovered that dogs can be trained to sniff out the presence of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the bacteria that causes citrus greening, with greater than 99 percent accuracy.
USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.
Forests are complex ecosystems. They are constantly changing as a result of tree growth, variations in weather and climate, and disturbances from fire, pathogens, and other stressors. The USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks these ongoing changes — every year, across the nation — as a forest health check up. The 2018 FHM report is the only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis. It contains short- and long-term forest health assessments for the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The report is available as a General Technical Report. Individual chapters can be downloaded, and the full series of FHM annual reports is also available. Users can search reports and chapters by year or topic. Highlights and additional resources are also included.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Prevention is the most effective strategy in managing invasive species. However, hundreds of invasive plants and animals have already established in California and are rapidly spreading each year. These invaders are negatively impacting our waters, our native plants and animals (some of them rare, threatened, or endangered), our agriculture, our health, our economy, and our favorite recreational places. Help us celebrate California's Invasive Species Action Week, and more importantly, help stop the spread of invasive species, by volunteering to take action.
DHS. Customs and Border Protection.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have already intercepted a dozen significant and potentially destructive pests this year at various ports of entry in Florida as part of the agency's all-encompassing efforts to safeguard American agriculture.
Unknown pests pose a significant risk in agriculture due to a lack of knowledge in controlling the pests and the extent of damage they can cause to crops. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologists recently classified eight pests discovered by CBP agriculture specialists in Florida as first-in-the-nation interceptions and another pest as a new species.
USDA. ARS. Tellus.
ARS scientists in Nevada, studied ways to control cheatgrass and restore rangelands to a healthy mix of plants, which in turn reduces wildfire threats, supports wildlife, and increases sustainable grazing resources.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
All known feral swine have been eliminated from Colorado thanks to a near 15-year state and federal partnership comprised of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS), the USDA Forest Service (FS), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). The partnership formed in the early 2000s as a task force to manage invasive feral swine, which root up crops and pastures causing billions in damage nationwide each year. Feral swine also spread disease to livestock, wildlife and humans. Ground-nesting birds and other wildlife are easy prey for feral swine. And the swine put native wildlife at risk by competing for resources and destroying habitats and ecosystems.
You can help keep Colorado free of feral swine:
- Spread the word that in Colorado it’s illegal to possess, transport or release feral swine, wild swine species or hybrids.
- Report sightings of feral swine or transportation activities to USDA Wildlife Services at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297) or Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-297-1192.
- Get more information at the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program.
USDA. ARS. Tellus.
In parts of the South, there are stories about an invasive floating weed, which forms such a dense mass that it enables small animals to walk across water. This weed, called giant salvinia, is an exotic fern from South America that invades ponds, lakes, and other waterways in the United States. It damages aquatic ecosystems by outgrowing and replacing native plants that provide food and habitat for native animals and waterfowl.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are testing a naturally occurring fungus (Myrothecium spp.) against giant salvinia to help control it. Initial tests have found that the fungus stops this problematic weed from growing and even can kill it.
State of Wyoming.
Reflecting his goal of making Wyoming a national leader in the battle against invasive species, Governor Mark Gordon announced today he has launched an initiative to address terrestrial invasive plants in the state. The initiative will be comprised of two teams -- a Policy Team and a Technical Team, each comprised of local, state and federal government representatives, private citizens representing industry and agricultural groups, as well as scientists and practitioners. The two teams will work cooperatively to develop recommendations for the Governor in the context of a large-scale strategy for invasive species management. Terrestrial invasive species represent a significant threat to Wyoming’s forests, rangelands and agricultural lands with varying levels of impact.
USDA. ARS. Tellus.
Rodrigo Krugner, an entomologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Parlier, California, has found an innovative way to control insect pests in California vineyards: tapping into the vibrational signals they use as mating calls.
Krugner’s efforts have mainly focused on glassy-winged sharpshooters, which spread a bacterium that causes Pierce’s disease in vineyards and costs the California grape industry an estimated $104 million a year. Growers use chemical sprays to control the pests, but insecticides also kill beneficial insects, leave residues, and become less effective as the insects develop resistance.
California Academy of Sciences; National Geographic Society.
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