The Roundup -

Using Weed Biocontrol Effectively Focus of ARS BrownBagger


Been thinking about adding biocontrol to your weed management plan, but not sure where to start? Have you tried biocontrol but it just didn’t seem to work all that well?

Then consider taking in our next BrownBagger presentation at the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney on Friday, March 9, when ARS Research Ecologist Natalie West will discuss “Effective Use of Biocontrol for Rangeland Weeds: An Overview and Update.”

“Weed biocontrol is an important asset in the management toolbox, and particularly effective when integrated with other tools,” West says. “In my talk I will discuss limits to biocontrol success in the field, and how integrated strategies can improve weed control. Additionally, I will discuss the research questions and ecological knowledge gaps that are driving new biological control research in Sidney.”

Her presentation will be held from noon to 1 pm in the Tech Transfer Room at the Sidney ARS lab, located at 1500 N. Central Avenue.

Dr. West holds a doctorate in Biological Sciences (Ecology) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a master’s degree in Plant Biology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. Prior to joining the Sidney ARS lab, she was a postdoctoral ecologist with USDA-ARS in Urbana, IL, researching invasion risks and management of perennial crops introduced for biomass production. Her graduate work examined plant-insect interactions in native thistles and the ecology of exotic species in forest-opening communities.

West’s current research focuses on: quantifying the long term outcomes of leafy spurge biological control in the northern Great Plains; improving revegetation and weed management after energy development, and evaluating demographic impacts of herbivores and habitat interactions to optimize effective biocontrol of whitetop/hoary cress and Russian olive.

NPARL invites all interested persons to join us for this very informative presentation at noon this Friday, March 9. Bring your lunch. We’ll provide the dessert!

West’s talk will be followed up on March 23rd with a related BrownBagger presentation by Amanda Stahlke, a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program at the University of Idaho, who interned with West at NPARL last summer. Stahlke will discuss their ongoing research on whether the most effective target for biocontrol of a weed might change in different environments.

For questions or more information on Sidney ARS’ 2018 BrownBagger Series, contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or [email protected]


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