Field trip in Turkey (April 15- 17, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro and F. Di Cristina
Meeting in Kayseri with our cooperators Kahraman Gürcan and Evrim Karacetin at the Erciyes University. Discussed several topics and visited the greenhouse where the test plants were located (in very good conditions). Met the student who is going to help René Sforza (EBCL) in the field work for medusahead. Purchased 20 Russian olives (300 TL) in plant nursery very close to the University. Travel towards Cappadocia: along the road from Kayseri to Avanos found old medusahead and some seedlings, with a very abundant rust; collected other seedlings (with still the seed) to check for mites and for DNA analysis; collected some young grasses (probably medusahead) plus a small sample of wheat (cultivated nearby). In Göreme visit to our German cooperator Connie to discuss the experiment and to check the situation at experiments field plots; medusahead is very abundant at the site. We also went at Philip’s vineyard: no medusa, but 10 Russian olive plants in good shape. Also checked some of the sites nearby for YST: rosettes were big and abundant, but without Certapion basicorne (both adults and larvae). Back in Kayseri we stopped at the PPW site: the PPW population is very big and the plants are in good shape (collected some plants showing -maybe- mite symptoms). Returned back the rental car at 18:00 and took a flight to Istanbul. Met Enrico De Lillo and his wife Susanna in Istabul at the airport.
Field trip in Iran (April 18-24, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro and F. Di Cristina
Visit to our cooperator Parisa Lotfallai’s in Tabriz. Traveling direction north: found Tamarix, Salsola, Alhagi just outside the town of Tabriz; on Tamarix sp. collected 3 Coniatus sp. Along the same road, near the town Soofian, found medusa-head, Bromus, Alhagi and Tamarix ; collected some plantlets of medusa-head (with the seed) for mite detection. Found PPW with a chrysomelid larva (Galeruca sp.?) on the leaves along the road between Marand and Hadishahr; collected larvae and leaves for genetic analysis. In the town of Jolfa found a large population of Tamarix sp.: collected one Coniatus (very green) and several (very elongated) Diorhabda sp. (both in ETOH 95%) + one Sphenoptera (for Mark Volkovitz). Also found 3 Salsola spp. (collected 2 weevil species) and young Alhagi plants. Along the Aras river found Isatis tinctoria with a large infestation of weevils (collected). Meeting in at the University of Tabriz with Dr. Ajami and Dr. Salahshur: we reviewed the agreement and set up the meeting for next day. In April 21, long day at the university: presented both seminars (E. De Lillo and M. Cristofaro), interviews with Iranian television, visit at the University facilities . Then drove west towards the Urmia Lake: we did not reach the lake because too dangerous for the weather (sand storm) and returned back to Tabriz. Drove East in the direction of Caspian Sea (town of Astara) without finding any Arundo donax ( and no-saltcedar as well). Found some small patch of Arundo donax at about 12 km North of Bandar-e Anzali; recorded LASIO on some plants (small infestation). Collected samples for DNA, and other material (rhizomes and leaves) for eventual hidden damage. Collected as well nematodes on Ailanthus roots. On the way back, at about 160 km East of Tabriz, collected 7 Coniatus (maybe two species) and one Diorhabda sp. on Tamarix sp.
Field trip in Turkey (June 16- 23, 2015)
by M. Augé, M. Cristofaro, D. De Simone, F. Di Cristina, L. Gültekin, F. Marini and S. Stutz
Aims of this trip were: meeting at Kayseri University with our cooperator K. Gürcan about MEDUSA (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) project; harvesting of PPW (Lepidium latifolium) plants to look for mites (Metaculus lepidifolii); visit to the experimental field plots in Cappadocia, Central Turkey, to supervise plants preparation for the open field test. During the trip from Kayseri to Cappadocia collected LALA (Larinus latus, around 30) for release on experimental fields. Harvest of MEDUSA (around 50 samples) in order to look for mites. Visit at the YST/ONO experimental field of our German cooperator Connie in Ibrahimpaşa, to have a look on plant survival and stages. a) YST/ONO (Centaurea solstitialis/Onopordum acanthium) plot: the plants are young at the moment, only few plants have capitula. b) PPW plot: the plants are in good conditions, but in that case also several plants are still too young for experimental purpose. Released 34 LALA on Onopordum spp. plants; prepared 83 bouquets with samples of PPW infested by mites and infested PPW plot in Connie’s field: all plants, excepted one, were infested. Last collection for LAFI: finally, we own 50 LAFI and released 25 LAFI on YST plants of experimental plot in Connie’s fields. F. Di Cristina, M. Augé and D. De Simone went in Çavuşin - Zelve (1010 m) for collection of Curculionidae on Alhagi spp. and in Sarihan (983 m) for harvest of PPW plants to look for mites. Back in Kayseri, last meeting with K. Gürcan: left to him 32 LALA for release on ONO plants in his field, 25 LAFI for storing until next release and a microscope. Finally, shown how to take the measures on the YST/ONO plants in the experimental field and explained the protocol for the release of the insects.
Field trip in Iran (June 27- 28, 2015)
by D. De Simone
Met in Mashad our Iranian cooperator Asadi Ghorbanali Ferdowsi; travel in direction North Khorasan (980 mt height): found a lot of Tamarix plants along a dried-up river: checked about 40 plants, but none of them was infested. Checked about 30 plants of Chondrilla growing along the road in a very hard soil, no infestation; collected petals from 5 plants, without seedlings and rust. Nearby an other Tamarix site with about 10 plants: collected 5 Coniatus spp. (in EtOH 96°). Road between Tudeh and Sisab: checked a big Tamarix site: no infestation found. North-west from Shirvan (1160 mt height) other Chondrilla site: very hard soil, collected flowers and seeds on 5 plants. Between Shirvan and Tudeh (1062 mt height), checked about 30 Chondrilla plants: no damage on roots, plant with no flowers and seeds; also found some dried-up medusa-head. Found infested Russian olive along the road between Tudeh and Zoeram (1168 mt h); collected a bouquet for Urs Schaeffner (CABI). Also found Alhagi plants with first signs of mites infestation (no galls); collected samples (in EtOH 70°-96°). Road between Shirvan and Tudeh: found Acroptilon plants, collected a lot of capitula with mites (about 1000, to divide between Urs and the experimental field plot). Also Alhagi plants with mites (in EtOH 70°-96°). North from Shirvan, road to Honameh: collected petals and seeds from 5 Chondrilla plants (labels 1-5); on plants 3 and 4 also rust. Collected about 30 dried-up medusa-head (no green plants anywhere).
Field trip in Armenia (July 05-11, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro and F. Di Cristina
Arrived to Yeravan and met cooperator Mark Kalashian. We drove together towards the Khosrov State Reserve, where we organized the camp. Walked along the road near the camp at the last year medusahead site. Collected medusahead sample for DNA (very dry) and recorded Acrotilon repens with two damages: a new eriophyid mite? (on the leaves) and some insect damage on the flowerheads (collected a sample). Few km on the way back we found a good population of "giant" medusahead (collected sample for DNA). Next stop of the day at the last year Salsola site (few small plants). Also found Alhagi sp. with a very important eriophyid mite infestation (collected). Found as well a small weevil (very similar to what we already collected in Cappadocia).
Not far from the town of Vedi performed the sampling on YST (both plant material for DNA and 100 flowerheads). Moved towards the Goravan desert (black sand). Stopped immediately before the desert in correspondence of a population of Alhagi and 4 Russian olive trees. Found on Alhagi the leaf beetle Diorhabda prob. fischeri and 3 other weevils. Just one of the 4 Russian olive trees was attacked by eriophyid mites (collected next day). Reached the desert area and start the Oporopsamma collection on Chondrilla juncea (about 80 pupae); some mites on RSW (symptoms maybe different from A. chondrillae). Found 5 weevils on Salsola. Collected medusa plants for DNA analysis and some seeds of Crupina sp. Back to Yerevan, in order to drop the collected material at Kalashian’s home in cool conditions. In the Gorge of Noravank, immediately after the town of Areni., collected 3 weevil species on Centaurea behen (2 Larinus spp. and probably one Rhinocyllus sp.) and medusahead plants for DNA. Collected on Tamarix sp. a small weevil (Apioninae). We met a team of Botanists, one from Armenia (Dr. George Fayvush, Botany Institute, Yerevan) and another from Vienna, Austria (Dr. Ernst Vitek, Vienna Museum) and discussed with them about Ventenata dubia; we agreed to receive information from them (target weed is present in Armenia). Going back to Yerevan collected some Rhinocyllus sp. on Cirsium sp. (transferred in acetone for DNA analysis).
Field trip in Turkey (July 24-31, 2015)
by D. De Simone, F. Marini and M. Augé
Aim of the trip was to visit the experiments fields in Ortahisar (Connie’s house) and to collect samples of Chondrilla, Alhagi and other project plants. On YST plot took measures on all plants and harvested mature capitula from each plant; many YST plants are young, some of them still have several buds and young flowers. Sampling on Chondrilla (RSW) between Ortahisar and Űrgűp; checked the roots of about 25 plants and collected several samples. No possible to collect seeds and flowers for all plants, because many of them are too young. No rust found. Sampling on RSW in a site near Gőreme; collected several samples. Moreover, harvested some seeds of Taeniatherum caput-medusae. Worked on wild Centaurea solstitialis (YST) plants: recording of measures (height, collar root diameter, growth stage) from 5 plants to compare them with YST plants in experimental field and harvesting of capitula from them (10 or more for each plant). Also harvested some seeds of Bromus tectorum. In direction of Ortahisar (Gűvercinlik) collected only two samples of RSW because the plants are not still in flowering. Found plants of Alhagi and RSW (left Ortahisar, along the road to Goynűk): no possible to check the roots of RSW, because the soil is quite hard. Collected samples of Alhagi (symptoms of mites attack on flowers). Back to Gőreme, also collected capitula (10 for each plant) from wild YST plants. Left Gőreme in the direction of Başdere, collected MEDUSA and Bromus’s seeds, found several plants of Alhagi, but they are not in flowering yet. Worked on Lepidium latifolium (PPW) at Connie’s experimental field. Left Cappadocia, direction Kayseri. In Kayseri swamp collected roots of wild PPW plants with normal shape or with two different symptoms of mites attack ("bubbles" - TYPE II, and "classic" - TYPE I). Back in Kayseri University to work on experimental fields: the PPW plot has not been infested, therefore can be destroyed (Kaharaman’s team will do it). The YST/ONO experimental field has been infested only with adults of Larinus latus (LALA), nobody LAFI has been released in it. Moreover, no-target plants are still too young. For these reasons this year nothing will be do on the YST/ONO plot in Kayseri.
Field trip in Turkey (Aug 24-27, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro and M.Guedj
Meeting with our German cooperator Connie at her house, where we discussed with her, his friend Gökhan and some friends from New Zealand the future work for this year and next season. We agreed to communicate at the end of September (after my visit at the EBCL), in order to set up the work for the next season. Afterwords, we returned back at the Connie’s field where we closed the YST+ONO experiment, harvesting all the YST, safflower, Onopordum and C. americana plants left by Matthew, Francesca and Daniele. Found a huge numbers of capitula on YST (collected only the senescent ones). We took out from the soil all the YST plants and we recorded the up-date situation at the plot (most of the Cirsium spp: were dead). Collected as well some Chondrilla roots at the site (found a root boring moth -pupal stage). At Connie’s field plot we take out all the harvest YST plants. We drove to Camusin site to collect some Russian olive infested with eriophyid mites. Then drove to Kayseri and we met Kahraman at the Erciyes University. After a short visit at the laboratories, we discussed about future plans together.
Field trip in Sicily (Aug 31 - Sept 10, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro, R. Buonopera and S. Arnone
First site along the road to Mt. Etna: collected medusa-head (some plants with a strange damage, maybe due to pathogens), Bromus sp. and Chondrilla. Second site along the same road (about 5 km above): we found medusa-head (without symptoms), Bromus sp., Cytisus sp. (with mites) and Chondrilla (with a damage on the roots). Third site near the town of Motta Camastra, along the Alcantara Gorge: found a large population of Tamarix heavily infested by the scale; collected 3 Coniatus sp. (collected and preserved in ETOH 95%).
The forth site of the trip near Noto, along the beach of the small village Marzamemi: recorded Salsola soda and S. kali in large populations. Most of the Russian thistle plants were heavily infected by a Puccinia rust, while the other Salsola sp. was healthy. At the same site in Marzamemi collected on Tamarix sp. plants Coniatus sp. (one specimen collected, one missing), plus another weevil (Corimalia sp.?) and one small yellow flea-beetle (the last two preserved in ETOH 70%).
Field trip in Iran (Sept 11-18, 2015)
by M. Augé and F. Marini
Met Parisa Lotfallai in Tabriz and went in the Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University. Checked some plants of Tamarix sp. and found several cocoons on them. Meeting with the boss of Parisa about present and future partnerships between them and BBCA onlus. After the reunion, started the sampling inside of University. Collected seeds and flowers from 5 different plants of Chondrilla juncea (RSW), for genetic analysis. Checked the RSW’s roots and found two tubes on one of them. Found symptoms of mites attack on RWS, took some pieces of plant and gave them to Parisa. Detected plants of Alhagi sp. and harvested several samples: seeds, pieces of plants with symptoms of mites attack, larvae of Chrysomelidae (brought alive in Rome) and adults of Diorhabda sp. (brought alive in Rome). Finally, found one adult of Lixus sp. on Alhagi. Observed many cocoons and galls on SALT.
Trip in USA (Oct 2015)
by M. Cristofaro, F. Marini and M. Augé
BBCA attended the NAISMA (North America Invasive Species Management Association) Conference Agenda in Vancouver (Oct 19-22, 2015), the MWCA (Montana Weeds Control Association) Biological Control Working Group in Chico Hot Springs (Oct 28-29, 2015) and the 24th Annual Cal-IPC (California Invasive Plant Council) Symposia in San Diego (Oct 28-31, 2015).
Field trip in Turkey (Nov 08-10, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro and M. Guedj
We met our cooperator Kahraman at the University and drove at the site near the Armenian churches and collected several seeds of medusa-head. Then we went to the PPW site near Kayseri churches: collected seeds of PPW (plant population very low due to the heavy grazing). Returned back at the University where we checked the two field plots where we organized the experiment in 2015: PPW, Cirsium and artichokes were in good conditions. Discussed several topics: projects for next year (PPW, TACA, YST & ALHAGI). Michèle was taking some YST seeds from the Turkish capitula collected together last August. Asked Kahraman to cut off some flowers (one plant of Cirsium in the field) make some plastic tunnels on the test plants in the plots, in order to protect them in order to have plants in good shape during next year. All the capitula collected in August (and the ones from Cirsium) should be treated by autoclave. We also discussed the possibility to have Kahraman involved in a biomolecular project and about next year agreement .
Trip in Serbia (Nov 10 -12, 2015)
by M. Cristofaro and M. Guedj
Meeting at the University with Radmila Petanovic, Biljana Vidovic and Dragica Smiljanic, discussing last year plans and next year activities. We discussed about Acroptilon sp. from Iran and about the issues of our Iranian cooperator P. Lothfollai and of Italian cooperator E. De Lillo (including the new COST project and the mite on Ailanthus altissima), Metaculus sp. on Isatis. Next year they will work with BBCA for Medusa, PPW and (eventually) on Sahara mustard. Preliminary work on the Research Agreement that will be signed (together with CABI) for next year activities. Short meeting with the Serbian team, mainly focussed on Rapistrum. They showed to us pictures and alive (dry) material collected in Belgrade area. Received some seeds, in order to have plant material to better recognize the plant in nature. We also discussed about the way how to record mite histological damage on medusa-head: sheaves with mites (heavy infestations) must be transferred in vials with a 50% ETOH solution, in order to perform histological observations on seeds.