So far, only extreme cold stops the hemlock woolly adelgid. But the University of Vermont’s Scott Costa may soon give forest managers and homeowners a tool to fight back.
Working with the U.S. Forest Service, the State of Vermont, and others, Costa, an entomologist in UVM’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, has been developing a novel method of putting an insect-killing fungus, lecanicillium muscarium, to work protecting hemlock trees.
The entire range of eastern hemlock and the less common Carolina hemlock, from southern Canada to Georgia, is currently at risk from the adelgid, a bug native to Asia that arrived in the United States in the 1920s and made its way to the East Coast in the 1950s. The stakes are high: hemlock provides habitat for dozens of mammals and birds. Arching over streams, it creates deep shade critical for the survival of trout and other fish. Some scientists think hemlock is a so-called keystone species, holding up a whole ecosystem.
Nobody thinks the adelgid pest can be eliminated. But Costa has had success with field trials on one-acre forest plots in Tennessee, using helicopters to drop the fungus — mixed with his proprietary blend of growth-enhancing ingredients — into the epicenter of the adelgid’s devastating attack. These trials reduced the growth rate of adelgid by fifty percent — “that’s the first time that’s been demonstrated with an insect-killing fungus,” Costa says — and it seems likely to give trees a fighting chance of recovery.
Over the last year, Costa has been testing the same technology on single trees in Vermont to see if ground-based spray applications will work, too. UVM Today dropped in on Costa in the field at Townshend State Park, north of Brattleboro, Vt., and in his laboratory at Jeffords Hall on campus. We wanted to see if his latest experiment would succeed.
Joshua Brown | EurekAlert!
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences
22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences