Navigation Links
Texas Invasive Species Program established at UT Austin
Date:7/15/2013

To combat and manage pesky invasive species such as fire ants, tawny crazy ants and Cactoblastis moths, the Texas Invasive Species Program has been established at The University of Texas at Austin with $2.7 million in support from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation.

The six-year grant will enable researchers at the College of Natural Sciences' Brackenridge Field Laboratory (BFL) to study the basic biology of exotic invasive pests in their native lands and seek novel and sustainable approaches to countering problem organisms that threaten biodiversity in the central and southern parts of Texas.

"I consider an invasive species program to be the ecological equivalent to a cancer research center in biomedicine," said Larry Gilbert, professor of integrative biology and director of BFL. "In a planet whose ecosystems are increasingly stressed by human activity and invaded by nonnative species, the conservation of biodiversity requires understanding how to manage ecosystems in the face of these realities."

The new program builds on previous work by the Texas Fire Ant Lab to study the potential for natural biocontrols of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Gilbert and his colleagues have been studying parasitic phorid flies (Pseudacteon sp.) from the ant's native range in South America for more than two decades. The flies kill the ants and disrupt their food foraging, which makes the ants less efficient and improves the competitiveness of native ant species.

The researchers will also study other current and future invasive species, such as the Cactoblastis moth from Argentina, which feeds on native prickly pear cacti; Buffelgrass, an African grass that is crowding out native plants and affecting wildlife; and the tawny crazy ant, a recent invader from South America that is capable of reaching incredible densities and has even been found to displace fire ants.

In fact, researchers at BFL recently found that tawny crazy ants are reducing the diversity and abundance of ant and arthropod species in some Gulf Coast areas, threatening the stability of the ecosystem as a whole.

Researchers affiliated with the Texas Invasive Species program include Rob Plowes and Ed LeBrun, research scientists in the ant group at BFL; Patricia Folgarait, a collaborator from the National University of Quilmes in Argentina; and microbial ecologist Christine Hawkes, an associate professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin. The Bass funding will also involve collaboration with Kenyan scientists and continued work in Argentina.

Gilbert stresses that the work that he and his fellow researchers conduct would not be possible without the help of donors and the many landowners who have provided access to their properties for research.

"We would not be in this position without the ongoing support from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation and past long-term support of the Robert J. Kleberg and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation," said Gilbert. "These are family foundations whose members have strong involvement with ranching, wildlife and private conservation efforts and share our group's interest in protecting the biodiversity of Texas through sustainable control and management of problem invasive species."


'/>"/>

Contact: Larry Gilbert
lgilbert@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-4705
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Monarch butterflies down again this year as decline continues, says Texas A&M expert
2. NASAs Landsat satellites see Texas crop circles
3. NASA satellite measurements imply Texas wind farm impact on surface temperature
4. University of North Texas Health Science Center Advances Forensic Research by Investing in Semiconductor DNA Sequencing Technology
5. Diet of early human relative Australopithecus shows surprises, says Texas A&M researcher
6. Mining cleanup benefits from Texas A&M expertise
7. University of Texas Medical Branch selected to manage Center for Polar Medical Operations
8. NSBRI renews space life sciences graduate programs at MIT, Texas A&M
9. BP Biofuels, Texas AgriLife Research sign agreement to advance biofuel feedstock development
10. Controlling gait of horses may be possible, says key study from Texas A&M
11. Newly discovered letters and translated German ode expand Texas link to infamous Bone Wars
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) ... million US Dollar project, for the , Supply ... Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... -- Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the ... latest premium product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. ... ... ... Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a ... $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank ... automation and to advance its drug development efforts, as ... facility. "SVB has been an incredible strategic ... services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA ... Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a ... STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
Breaking Biology Technology: