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Field trip in Portugal (January 05 - 08, 2016)
by F. Di Cristina and A. La Marca


About 25 km West of Lisbon (town of Oeiras) found probably some plants of Rapistrum sp. with some symptoms: collected about 5. Check the sites along the sea, looking for Tamarix: the target is present but without any damage. Along the road for Plaja Marinha (Lagoa) found Arundo with an interesting attack of LASIO and recorded a damage made by a caterpillar (Pyralid?); collected some infested leaves to try to get the adults. At the seashore site, collected perennial Salsola (or Sueda) infested with eriophyid mites.

Field trip in Sicily (February 04-06, 2016)
by F. Di Cristina and M. Guedj


Harvested Arundo canes along the road for Siracusa, near Avola and near Noto and along the road between Pachino and Marzamemi. Found scale on Tamarix and young Salsola. No Brassica tournefortii found in all the beaches we visited.


Field trip in Sardinia (February 17-20, 2016)
by F. Di Cristina, M. Guedj, M. Barlattani

Harvested Arundo canes near Gonnesa, in Fluminamaggiore and near S. Antioco. Near the beach of Gonnesa collected plants of supposed Brassicae tourneforti (the plants are not bolting), other Brassicaceae with white flowers and one specific of the place: Brassicae insularis. In Calasetta found a lot of plants of Brassicae sp. bolting with little flowers yellow. In Capoterra found Coniatus on Tamarix. Visited several beaches but we didn't find Brassica tournefortii.

Field trip in Israel and Turkey (February 29 - March 09, 2016)
by F. Marini and F. Di Cristina


Aim of the trip in Israel was to explore the country in search of new collection areas and to visit the Volcani Centers and the Gene Seed Bank Institute. Meeting with Dr. J. Hershenhorn (in Nazareth) and A. Singer (in Tel Aviv). We travelled from Tel Aviv towards Qiryat Eqron, then Nazareth, Cesarea, Arad (close to the Dead Sea). Recorded Tamarix sp. heavily attacked by a stem galling moth and few eriophyid galls on the tips, and Centaurea sp. (not in bolting stage) and seedlings of Salsola kali. We also found Brassica tournefortii: collected plant samples for DNA analyses, seeds and found about 10 Ceuthorrynchus sp. weevil adults, 5-6 stem galls and one leaf beetle adult feeding on the pods. Also detected exit holes and external damage in/on the roots of Sahara mustard (too late to collect the insect(s) species). In Turkey (Antalya), found a very good spot of B. tournefortii: collected material for DNA analyses and several seeds. Near the town of  Kumluca found Arundo donax with an heavy LASIO damage. Near the town of Demre found a small population of B. tournefortii: collected 4 plant samples for DNA analyses. Near the town of Demre, close to beach we found a small population of medusahead showing some damage (pathogen?). Meeting in Kayseri at the Erciyes University with K. Gürcan; also visited the field plot (PPW and YST) sites at the University.


Field trip in Turkey (April 04-08, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Marini


Overall purpose of this trip was to investigate about different target weeds. We were looking for: mites on Taeniatherum caput-medusae (TACA), Lepidium latifolium (PPW) and Isatis tinctoria (ISATIS); larvae and/or pupae of weevil (Lepidotychius winkleri) on Alhagi sp. Meetings in Kayseri with K. Gürcan and in Cappadocia with our cooperator Connie Zieglmeier. Setting the open-field tests about PPW in Kayseri and ISATIS in Cappadocia. Checked the phenological stage of the plants in YST open-field test of the last year in Kayseri University. 

Field trip in Puglia, Italy (April 18-21, 2016)    
by M. Augé, F. Marini and B. Rector


Main purpose of this trip was: a) looking for mites on Taeniatherum caput-­medusae (TACA) to have samples enough to conclude the infestation of plants involved in the host-range test at BBCA facilities; b) looking for natural regulators on Brassica tournefortii; c) meet prof. E. De Lillo at the University of Bari to learn more about eriophyid mites: the protocol to collect mites from plant samples, how to prepare the slides to see the mites under the microscope and how to distinguish the gender. About TACA: harvested several samples in different sites to look for mites. Found some plants with symptoms of mite’s attack. Moreover, two red larvae (probably Diptera) were found on leaves that were slightly curved. Found other very big plants with several spikes showing symptoms of mite’s attack. About B. tournefortii: some plant have flowers of two different colors (white and yellow). Collected different kind of samples, like seeds with and without damage by eating, one larva of Lepidoptera, a Cerambicidae, several weevils and one larva that was found inside of the stem, close to the ground. In all sites we didn’t found any Psylliodes sp. or galls on the roots.


Field trip in Jordan (April 26-May 1, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Marini


Overall purpose of this trip was to to carry out explorations about different target weeds, looking for the plants and their natural enemies, collecting samples for DNA analysis: Brassica tournefortii (SAMU), Taeniatherum caput-medusae (TACA), Bromus tectorum,  Tamarix sp. (SALT), Chondrilla juncea (RWS), Salsola tragus (SALS). General comments: Brassica tournefortii is very common in Jordan; potential symptoms of mites attack have been observed and collected. Tamarix sp.: symptoms of mites attack have been found and collected. The samples have been given to E. De Lillo, in order to extract some mites and work on its identification.  

Field trip in Turkey (May 09-12, 2016)
by A. La Marca and F. Di Cristina


Aim of this trip was to check the status of the test plants for two (potential) experimental fields, one for Lepidium latifolium (PPW) mite (at the Erciyes University, Kayseri) and the other for Isatis mite (at Connie Zieglmeier’s orchard). In addition, our purpose was to look for the presence of mites on Bromus tectorum and Taeniatherum caput-medusae (TACA), to verify the presence of the leaf beetle on medusahead  and to set up the impact test of the eriophyid mite on Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive). Achievements: 1) PPW: the test plants were in very good conditions, but the plants were too small. 2) Isatis tinctoria: the test plants were very mall (both at the University and at the Connie’s facilities), but the main problem was that we did not found eriophyid mites on the wild Isatis plants. 3) TACA: checked some of the plants were previously (2014 and 2015) we recorded the presence of Aculodes sp. on young seedling plants of medusahead, but we recorded just few mites.  Plants were still very small and we decided to postpone any additional observations on this target to the next visit. 4) Bromus tectorum: collected plant samples in 3 different sites; near Ortahisar found a large mite infestation, we also recorded an interesting pathogen attack (smut?): collected sample for additional studies. 5) Russian olive: set up in a private land a field impact study, marking a total of 10 branches (50cm long) infested with eriophyid mites (red ring) and another 10 healthy branches with a yellow ring.


Field trip in Bulgaria (May 17-20, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Marini

Overall purpose of this trip was: 1) looking for Taeniatherum caput-medusae and mite’s population; 2) collecting samples of Psylliodes sp. (both larvae and adults) on Centaurea solstitialis (YST) and Onopordum sp. (ONO), in order to get some genetic data and to set up the experiments for next year. We met our bulgarian cooperators V. Harizanova and A. Stoeva at the University of Plovdiv; field work together (south-east of Plovdiv). Collected some plants of TACA to check for the presence of mites and for genetical analysis. In the fields around Plovidiv, found 7 adults of Psylliodes sp. on ONO plants. Unfortunately, most places where Psylliodes sp. have been found in the past on YST or ONO are changed, now many of them are cherry orchards or land cultivated. According with V. Harizanova and A. Stoeva, this year the spring seems to be quite cold. During the next months, they will look for new sites where it is possible to find Psylliodes sp.

Field trip in South-Eastern Kazakhstan (part I, May 13-20, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Di Cristina

Main purpose of this part of the trip was to search for new Lepidium latifolium (PPW) mite populations associated with L. latifolium biotypes closely related to the US L. latifolium biotypes (in comparison with Central Turkey PPW). In addition, we were looking for the eventual presence of mites on Bromus tectorum and Taeniatherum caput-medusae, and to look for new potential candidate agents on Eleagnus angustifolia, Russian knapweed, Russian thistle and the new target weeds Alhagi spp. and Halogeton spp. Finally, we were in the Country to collect a large number of Sphenoptera foveola, a buprestid closely associated with rush skeleton weed. During 6 days of exploration we covered an area near the Ili River, performing collections in 20 sites while we were traveling for more than 1,200 km, from Almaty (South) to almost the Balkhash Lake. 1) PPW:  found 4 sites with eriophyid mites (2 of them very large populations). 2) Russian thistle: found a large community of weevils in two sites (collected at least 6 different species). 3) B. tectorum: collected material from 4 sites: all of the samples showing clear an attack of a red rust species; unfortunately we never recorded any eriophyid mites on the inspected plants; found in one site a small Diptera larva and one egg. 4) Saltcedar: checked plants in more than 5 sites; collected Coniatus spp. in 2 sites. 5) Skeletonweed: more than 150 adults of the root boring buprestid have been collected in two times in two locations. 6) Russian knapweed: collected material from 3 sites: a large infestation of an eriophyid mite (probably Aceria acroptiloni) has been recorded; in addition, a large attack made by a long-horn beetle (probably Phytoecia virgula) has been recorded; a small sample of plants with a rust attack (probably Puccinia acroptili) has been collected in one site. 7) Russian olive: collected material from several sites; found so far just a caterpillar (in one site) and a leaf beetle (probably Altica balassogloi) in 4 sites. 8) Camelthorn: collected material from 3 sites: a possible infestation of eriophyid mites and two sites with the leaf beetle Diorhabda spp. have been recorded.

Field trip in South-Eastern Kazakhstan (part II, May 20-28, 2016)
by F. Marini 


The principal focus of this second trip was to look for populations of PPW infested by eriophyid mites. In particular, it was to find a mite strain potentially better adapted to invasive PPW in the US, carrying out foreign explorations in South-East Kazakhstan, where we previously recorded PPW populations similar to the most common genotype present in the US. Among the 16 sites where we recorded PPW in Kazakhstan, on 8 of them eriophyid mites have been recorded and collected. Near Koram and along the road to our first camp (Sharyn River region) we collected 10 spikes of TACA, pieces of Russian olive with symptoms of mite attack, plant and roots of PPW, three adults of Diorhabda sp. from Alaghi. Along the route A353 (in Altyn Emel National Park, direction Konyrolen) we collected on several samples of PPW (blooming) adults of Alticinae, caterpillars, pieces of plant and roots with mites. Travelling on route A350, along the Koksu River, we collected PPW plants showing strong symptoms of mite attack and with eaten leaves (Alticinae?), a weevil, SALT with symptoms of mite attack. Along the road between Balgaly and Tary we found plants of PPW showing mites attack. In direction from Bakbakty to the Kapchagay lake we collected some plants of Alaghi and samples of SALT plants with symptoms of mite attack; close to the lake we collected some infested plants of PPW, to bring back at CABI with Alaghi plants, in order to develop a colony of eriophyid mites from Kazakhstan in their quarantine. 

Field trip in Slovakia (June 13-16, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Di Cristina


Mission purpose was to collect fresh samples of Ventenata dubia (VEDU) and check the eventual presence of eryophid mites. We met our cooperators Pavol and Peter at the Agropark in Nitra. Collected samples of VEDU on 7 different sites. Everytime, the plant is growing on open spaces on woody hills. Found one pupa on site 2 and two Coleoptera on sites 3 and 7 (1 on each). We also collected seeds when plants were dry enough. We tried to go northern to collect fresher plants but couldn’t access the last site (too abrupt and dangerous because of the rain). 

Field trip in Turkey (June 20-25, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Marini


This trip was related to following projects: BromusIsatis, TACA, PPW, Russian olive. We collected populations of TACA for DNA analysis; there were not many plants of PPW and the most of them did not grow up again after the last sampling carried out in May, therefore only few samples have been picked to check for the presence of mites, but no one has been found. In Ortahisar, we checked the experiment about the evaluation of the impact of the eriophyoid mite Aceria angustifoliae on Russian olive (count of leaves, flowers and fruits attacked). Nothing has been found about galls on Isatis, nor smooth on Bromus. In Göreme-Ortahisar we observed some larvae feeding on seeds of Isatis (collected and stored alive). Found some extremely infested samples of Isatis. In Kayseri, stop at Incesu Lake to pick up samples of PPW, unfortunately no many mites have been found. Checked the situation about the experiment on Russian olive in Kayseri University: the most of trees are in good shape, all infested branches have grown up (they are longer more or less of 20 cm). In Kayseri’s swamp picked other samples of PPW to increase the possibility to find mites and perform the OFT. The choice of the samples to carry out in the PPW OFT has been done according with them genotype; finally, 5 plants for each specimen were infested and their position in the map has been chosen in random mode.  

Field trip in Bulgaria and Turkey (July 11-18, 2016)
by A. La Marca and F. Di Cristina


We met our cooperators V. Harizanova and A. Stoeva at the University of Plovdiv. Exploring the fields along the road from Plovdiv towards Harmanli (SE of Plovdiv) we found a good population of YST without any weevil, a large dark flea beetle on YST and maybe one Psylliodes; collected YST seed samples for genetic analysis. We found a very good site for TACA, YST and Dipsacus. Also found YST with eriophyid symptoms and phytoplasma like symptoms; collected dark flea beetles as well. Direction North from Plovdiv (near the village Kaloyanovo) collected about 8 flea beetles on YST. After the village Staro Zhelezare found YST (without damage) and another Centaurea sp. (white flowerhead), on which we collected 3 weevil species. Near the town Starusel very good place for YST: we suggest to return back next spring for Psylliodes. On the way to Sofia, near Ihtiman, we found a large population  of Onopordum (2-3 varieties): collected 5 Psylliodes.
Arrived in Kaysery (Turkey) on July 14. Visited the PPW Kayseri site: collected few samples of PPW for eriophyid mite detection. Travelling through Incesu Lake, Aksalur, Urgup, Sarhinan, towards Philip’s vineyard and Connie’s fields, we collected Bromus tectorum (seeds and green plants), additional PPW for eriophyid mite detection, TACA seeds for DNA (very big plants), one sawfly larva on PPW, some green leaves of Isatis (very few plants still green, nothing was recorded later in the hotel). In the area near Cavusin collected  with the umbrella technique 3-4 species of weevils, one species of Criptocephalinae and one single Bruchidae. Detected a large infestation of mites. At Connie’s house we checked the plants of the Isatis test: recorded some mortality, but still 43 were alive. At the Russian olive impact test site, we harvested the whole experiment, recording the infestation data. Back at the Alhagi site we collected fresh cuttings infested with eriophid mites. Comments: the trip was very complicate because the big political problems in Turkey. We decided to anticipate the harvest of the 3 open field tests we were carrying out in Turkey because we are not sure when and if we will return back. 


Field trip in Serbia (August 21 - 24, 2016)
by F. Di Cristina


Meeting at Belgrade University with R. Petanovic, B. Vidovic and D. Smiljanic. After a short discussion about several projects and after giving the artichoke plants to Biljana, we started to do some collections for the mite on Ambrosia. First site in Zemun area: collected some ragweed plants (very little symptoms); no eriophyid mites found. In the town of Novi Belgrade collected eriophyid mites on Russian olive for CABI. Rendez-vous  with B. Rector at the University. We decided to return back to the 2013 sites near Dici and Ljig (about 80 km South-West of Belgrade): also there we did not find clear symptoms on the ragweed plants. Planning work and budget  for next year. D. Smiljanic was able to find a site near Zemun with ragweed heavily infested with eriophyid mites; we went there to perform the collection. Given to B. Rector dry samples of TACA, YST (leaves and seeds for M.C. Bon) and cheatgrass.

Field trip in Iran (August 29 - September 4, 2016)
by M. Augé and F. Marini


Meeting at the University with cooperator R. Sobhian and with Dr. A. Dadkhodale, Dr. E. Tavakol and Dr. A. Alemzade. Travel to a site in the town of Shiraz where we recorded Acacia salicina (coming from Africa but originated from Australia) with some mite symptoms on the leaves. Moved 20 km North, where we found Russian olive with some feeding on the leaves (Altica??) and a good eriophyid mite attack (collected samples). Found at the site also Alhagi showing an important mite attack. Recorded and collected as well YST seeds for DNA. Travelling North in direction of Sepidan, we collected TACA and cheatgrass for DNA tests, recorded and collected one specimen of female Diorhabda sp. on saltcedar, recorded 2 plants of Russian olive (one looks resistant the eriophyid mite, while the other one -bigger- showed some light symptoms). Found Chondrilla juncea, heavily infested with eriophyid mites. In the town of Sisakht recorded a different species of Elaeagnus. Recorded Coniatus sp. on Tamarix sp. on the way back to Shiraz. In direction East from the University field station in Shiraz, recorded Salsola tragus, as well some TACA and some YST. Along the road to Persepolis recorded Alhagi and Tamarix sp., collected some hemipteran (Tingidae?) on Alhagi and 5-6 Diorhabda leaf beetles (showing a gregarious behaviour). Recorded on Alhagi the largest impact by eriophyid  mites. Nothing has been recorded on Tamarix. Visit at the University Field Station: it is a full valley of 2700 hectares! Everything is very well organized by Dr. M. Edalat. Recorded Alhagi  with eriophyid mites and damage by Diorhabda sp.(collected some seeds), recorded cheatgrass (collected sample) and Onopordum, found medusahead (large population), but too late to collect samples. Recorded on the only Russian olive of the field station an incredible infestation of the mite. All the Alhagi plants nearby were heavily attacked by eriophyid mites (collected samples for cooperator R. Petanovic).

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