UC IPM Online UC ANR home page UC IPM home page


SKIP navigation


IPM 25th2005 Annual Report

UC Statewide IPM Program

UC IPM Makes It Happen

Researcher finds ways to control invasive pests that threaten marine organisms

Ted Grosholz holding a European green crab Many non-native species inhabit California's coastal waters, posing a threat to aquatic ecosystems.

With funding from the UC Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program, ecologist Ted Grosholz conducted research on exotic invasive pests of marine organisms and found ways to increase native oysters without increasing European green crabs to damaging levels. In a separate research project, Ted found a way to destroy a serious pest of abalone.

Continued >> First discovered in the San Francisco Bay in 1989, the European green crab has been reported in water bodies as far north as Coos Bay and parts of Washington. "Specimens have been found in Bolinas Lagoon, Tomales Bay, Drake's Estero, Bodega Bay, and Humboldt Bay," says Ted.

This highly adaptable, invasive species thrives in a wide range of temperatures and reproduces quickly. The crab doesn't do well in the open sea but makes its home in bays and estuaries.

Feeding on mussels, clams, oysters, other crabs, small fish, and snails, the green crab disrupts the balance of the ecosystems of bays and their bottoms. Bays support the smallest organisms in the food chain, such as plankton and algae.

Ted's research in Bodega Harbor, a small, protected inlet 70 miles north of San Francisco, has developed ways to increase native oysters without increasing green crabs to infestation levels.

"Trapping the crabs in experimental oyster racks is an inexpensive and effective method to significantly improve oyster survival, without increasing the European green crab population," he says.

Ted has also identified "hot spots" along the west shore of the inner part of Tomales Bay where oyster density and recruitment is highest and where future native oyster restoration efforts should be focused.

Shellfish growers and natural area managers can employ these methods, although it may take up to three years.

Although not directly life threatening to abalone, the sabellid polychaete is a serious pest of abalone in aquaculture facilities in California. Ted's research with this South African, shell-dwelling species reveals that all life stages of the pest can be destroyed by immersing it in freshwater for a minimum of 24 hours. This practice allows abalone culture and aquarium operators to destroy the sabellid in abalone holding units.

University of California joins alliance to protect popular flower

UC IPM has teamed up with growers, ornamental plant organizations, and industry personnel to develop IPM strategies to protect a $300 million cut flower industry in California.

Gerbera flowers
Photo by Jack Kelly Clark

California is our country's largest producer of gerbera flowers, one of the most popular ornamental flowers in the world with more than 200 varieties. Gerbera growers often spray pesticides to control pests such as leafminers, whiteflies, and thrips.

With funding from UC IPM and other organizations in the Gerbera Pest Management Alliance (GPMA), researchers are investigating ways to improve the timing for releasing natural enemies, integrating biological control, and using new reduced-risk pesticides to control destructive pests. A key concern is to determine how many pests are present and the number of pests it takes to impact crop yields so that growers can skip treatments when they are unnecessary.

Continued >> Four 10,000-square-foot sites in Encinitas, Carpinteria, Ventura, and Watsonville are being used to develop standardized sampling methods and thresholds for gerberas. Without knowing how different numbers of pests affect a crop, growers don't know the best time to spray pesticides or to release natural enemies, which can result either in crop losses or excessive control costs. With science-based information on pest pressure and risk gathered in these experiments, growers will have a better understanding of when to apply natural enemies or pesticides so they can obtain the best possible pest control and reduce pesticide use.

Researchers studied climatic factors such as temperature and humidity and non-climatic variables such as variety and leaf age to help determine optimal pest management practices. When complete, this study will serve as a model system for cut and potted floriculture crops statewide.

"The Gerbera Pest Management Alliance has been designed to advance integrated pest management and biological control strategies for gerbera growers wherever they may fall on the pest management continuum," says UC Davis entomologist Michael Parrella, who is one of the investigators of the project. "We have some growers who are actively using biological control, while others are just starting. This program, based on developing solid sampling strategies, will offer all growers the opportunity to advance their integrated pest management. We meet three times a year at a cooperating grower's packing shed, review progress of the GPMA, share experiences, and tour the gerbera production area."

Other GPMA members are the California Cut Flower Commission, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, county advisors, allied industries and manufacturers of reduced-risk pesticides. UC IPM, the California Cut Flower Commission, the Hansen Trust, USDA (via the National Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative), and the American Floral Endowment also provided funding.

Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program

Exotics and invasive pests are a continuing and major threat to California’s agricultural and natural ecosystems, with a new and serious pest being introduced every 60 days or so. UC IPM manages a federally funded program to help stop the introduction of new pests and manage those that have already arrived.

  • Proposals due April 15, 2006
  • Progress reports April 1, 2006
  • Funding notification to PIs August 2006
  • Funding starts Sept. 1, 2006

The UC Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program (EPDRP) is funded through USDA-CSREES. The review committees approved $1.8 million in funding for 18 new projects from the 2005-2008 USDA grant. This brings the number of projects sponsored by the program to 82 for $7.3 million.

New research funded for 2005-06

Agricultural Systems

  • Managing corn leafhopper and corn stunt disease
    C. G. Summers, Entomology, UC Davis
    (2 years, $61,627)
  • Detecting Fusarium oxysporum in cotton seed and soil
    R. M. Davis, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
    (3 years, $133,867)
  • Characterizing glyphosate resistance in ryegrasses
    M. A. Jasieniuk, Plant Sciences, UC Davis
    (3 years, $125,059)
  • Training to identify predaceous mites found in California
    E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Entomology, UC Riverside
    (3 years, $113,817)
  • Economic injury level for cottony cushion scale
    E. E. Grafton-Cardwell and J. T. Trumble, Entomology, UC Riverside
    (2 years, $47,111)
  • Managing avocado lace bug in California
    M. S. Hoddle, J. G. Morse, and R. Stouthamer, Entomology, UC Riverside
    (2 years, $163,918)
  • Characterizing invasive isolates of verticillium wilt
    K. V. Subbarao, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
    (1 year, $36,600)
  • Response of rice blast to a resistant rice cultivar
    T. R. Gordon, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
    (3 years, $91,970)

Natural Systems

  • Investigating causes of a fungal disease in amphibians
    C. J. Briggs, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley
    (2 years, $86,738)
  • Evaluating how five beetle species spread pitch canker
    D. L. Wood, Insect Biology, UC Berkeley
    T. R. Gordon, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
    (3 years, $155,704)
  • A protocol for screening potentially invasive woody species
    M. Rejmanek, E. Grotkopp Kuo, and J. Erskine Ogden, Evolution and Ecology, UC Davis
    (3 years, $143,342)
  • Using molecular markers to describe the spread of water primrose in freshwater wetlands
    M. A. Jasieniuk, Plant Sciences, UC Davis
    (2 years, $135,242)
  • Impact of barb goatgrass on soil nutrients and soil organisms in grasslands
    W. R. Horwath, Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis
    (2 years, $88,632)
  • Effects of rust fungus on yellow starthistle
    J. M. DiTomaso, Plant Sciences, UC Davis
    A.J. Fisher, USDA-ARS
    D. M. Wood, California Dept. of Food and Agriculture
    (3 years, $131,351)
  • Artificial diets for rearing new biological control agents of yellow starthistle and other exotic weeds
    L. Smith, USDA-ARS, Western Regional Research Center
    (2 years, $102,752)

Urban Systems

  • Mediterranean pine engraver and redhaired bark beetle in urban pines
    M. L. Flint, Entomology, UC Davis
    S.J. Seybold, USDA-Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station
    (3 years, $128,000)
  • Effects of environment on mating during swarming of red imported fire ant
    M. K. Rust and L. Greenberg, Entomology, UC Riverside
    (1 year, $45,863)
  • Implementing a statewide biological control program for the spotted gum psyllid in eucalyptus
    T. D. Paine, Entomology, UC Riverside
    K. M. Daane, Insect Biology, UC Berkeley
    (3 years, $150,000)

Read about the current research projects in the 2005 Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program Annual Report (444KB, PDF)

UC IPM Competitive Grants Program

UC IPM has brought back to life its Competitive Research Grants Program for 2006-07 funding. The program sought proposals, due Dec. 14, 2005, in the five traditional IPM research areas, plus air and water quality. Through an arrangement with ANR, savings from other parts of the IPM program will be added to the recently reduced research budget to allow for a fully-funded program for the next few years.

New Projects for 2005-06

Air and Water Quality

  • Using nematode resistant carrots, an alternative to soil fumigation, to reduce VOCs from fumigant pesticide emissions.
    P. A. Roberts, Nematology, UC Riverside
    (Year 1 of 3)
  • Investigating the influence of sub-lethal heating and soil moisture components on microbial colonization of weed seeds and non-emerged seedlings.
    J. J. Stapleton, UC IPM, Kearney Agricultural Center
    (Year 1 of 1)
  • Refining management of late-season insect pests of cotton to mitigate VOCs and protect lint quality.
    L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
    (Year 1 of 3)
  • Developing a predictive model for risk assessment of cavity spot of carrots.
    R.M. Davis, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
    (Year 1 of 1)
  • Microbial analysis of walnut replant suppression.
    J. O. Becker, Nematology, and J. Borneman, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside
    (Year 1 of 1)

Research schedule

  • IPM grant proposals due Dec. 14, 2005
  • Progress and final reports Jan. 5, 2006
  • Funding notification to PIs April 2006
  • Funding starts July 1, 2006

Next article >> IPM Training

PDF: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader version 5 or later to view or print this PDF. If this software is not installed on your computer, you can download a free copy of Acrobat Reader.

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /IPMPROJECT/2005/researcher_c.html revised: July 10, 2014. Contact webmaster.