Identifying, Developing and Releasing Insect Biocontrol Agents for the Management of Phragmites australis
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER VICKSBURG MS ENVIRONMENTAL LAB
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Introduced Phragmites australis is rapidly spreading in North America, particularly along both East and West Coasts, but increasingly in the Midwest as well. Initially from Europe the introduced genotype is rapidly replacing diverse native wetland plant communities and their associated biota with near monocultures. Furthermore, spread of the European genotype is threatening endemic native genotypes now identified as a subspecies Phragmites australis americanus, with few remaining populations in the East while Midwestern and Western populations are more common. A lack of successful long-term control techniques resulted in the initiation of a project in 1998 that was aimed at developing biological control of the introduced genotypes. The current report details research accomplishments in host specificity testing ecological impacts, hybridization potential, and long-term monitoring from June 2011 to May 2012.