Invasive Species Research

Shipping containers on dock in Bayonne, NJ, New York City skyline is in the background

IR-4 has coordinated research projects studying mitigation strategies and developing basic knowledge for several invasive species – boxwood blight, chrysanthemum white rust, European pepper moth, gladiolus rust, and impatiens downy mildew.

Outcomes

  • Improved management strategies
  • Better understanding of environmental parameters for pathogen infection and pest development
  • Serological and genetic diagnostic tools
  • Increased knowledge of basic biological and genetic characteristics of these pathogens and pests

Project Descriptions

Boxwood plant in the ground

Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blight was first discovered in the US during 2011. Worldwide, this disease is caused by two different closely related fungi: Calonectria pseudonaviculata and Calonectria henricotiae. Today only the first fungus is found in the US.

From 2012 through 2018, APHIS sponsored research through the Farm Bill to investigate mitigation (management) options, basic biology (how the fungus grows and develops), epidemiology (how the pathogen spreads and creates disease), genomics (the genes and relatedness of other fungi), and diagnostics (how to identify this pathogen specifically and quickly).

In February 2017, the American Boxwood Society hosted a meeting where the boxwood blight research team shared research results with growers, landscapers, extension personnel and others. The American Boxwood Society shared the videos for these presentations on their website.

Research Team

Dr. Anton Baudoin
Dr. Mike Benson
Dr. Len Coop
Dr. JoAnne Crouch
Dr. Mark Cubeta
Mr. Norm Dart

Ms. Margery Daughtrey
Dr. Sharon Douglas
Dr. Ann Brooks Gould
Dr. Chuan Hong
Dr. Kelly Ivors

Dr. Jim LaMondia
Dr. Bob Marra
Dr. Cristi Palmer
Dr. Nina Shishkoff
Dr. Oney Smith

Chrysanthemum White Rust

Chrysanthemum white rust is a disease of chrysanthemums considered a quarantine pest by USDA-APHIS. The pathogen that causes this disease is Puccinia horiana.

From 2011 through 2016, APHIS sponsored research through the Farm Bill to investigate mitigation (management) options, basic biology (how the fungus grows and develops), epidemiology (how the pathogen spreads and creates disease), host range (what other plants closely related to garden mums are susceptible), genetic variability (the similarity of US and European strains), and diagnostics (how to identify this pathogen specifically and quickly).

Research Team

Dr. Mo Bonde
Dr. Bas Brandwagt
Dr. JoAnne Crouch

Dr. Kurt Huengens
Dr. Doug Luster

Dr. Cristi Palmer
Dr. Oney Smith

Gladiolus Rust

Gladiolus rust is a disease of gladiolus and a few related plants like Tritomia. At the time this project started, this disease was considered a quarantine pest by USDA-APHIS, but it has now been determined to be endemic and limited to small geographical area based on spore survival. The pathogen that causes this disease is Uromyces transversalis.

From 2010 through 2014, APHIS sponsored research through the Farm Bill to investigate mitigation (management) options, basic biology (how the fungus grows and develops), cultivar resistance, and diagnostics (how to identify this pathogen specifically and quickly).

Research Team

Dr. Mo Bonde
Dr. James Buck
Dr. Steve Jeffers

Dr. Doug Luster
Dr. Keithanne Mockaitis
Dr. Cristi Palmer

Dr. Oney Smith
Dr. Alberto Valencia-Botin

Impatiens Downy Mildew

Impatiens downy mildew (IDM) was first discovered in the US during 2004. During 2015 through 2007, only sporadic cases occurred. However, during 2009 and 2010, there were major declines in impatiens planting in Saratoga Springs, NY. Then in 2011 and 2012, IDM was reported throughout the US. This disease is caused by an oomycete or water mold called Plasmopara obducesns.

From 2013 through 2017, APHIS sponsored research through the Farm Bill to investigate mitigation (management) options, basic biology (how the fungus grows and develops), epidemiology (how the pathogen may overwinter and then create disease the following spring), genomics (the genes, relatedness of other fungi, and population changes over time), and diagnostics (how to identify this pathogen specifically and quickly).

Research Team

Dr. JoAnne Crouch
Ms. Margery Daughtrey
Dr. Mary Hausbeck

Dr. Cristi Palmer
Dr. Aaron Palmateer

Dr. Lina Quesada
Dr. Nina Shishkoff

Shipping of Arthropods

Accidental movement of insect and mite pests (arthropods) domestically and internationally via shipping of cuttings occurs. While plants are inspected and possibly sequestered for a period of time, it is possible to miss seeing small exotic arthropods or their eggs.

From 2011 through 2014, APHIS sponsored research through the Farm Bill to investigate mitigation (management) options using biopesticides and softer products applied prior to shipping of cuttings of several model crops. Also examined was the use of hot water baths to kill multiple insect and mite stages. Part of this project was developing mitigation options and life cycle information for the newly arrived pest European Pepper Moth (Duponchelia fovealis).

Research Team

Dr. James Bethke
Dr. Arnold Hara

Dr. Lance Osborne
Dr. Cindy McKenzie

Dr. Cristi Palmer

Invasive Species Dossiers & Project Summaries