NZ US INVASIVE SPECIES WORKSHOP SETS A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH

About 20 US and 40 NZ scientists met in Auckland in the last week of August 2017 to explore research initiatives to prevent the establishment or mitigate the impact of invasive vertebrate, invertebrates, pathogens and weeds.  

This 3 day workshop was the consequence of activities associated with the NZ US Invasive Species Working Group funded for two years (2014-2016) from the MBIE International Relationships Fund under the auspices of NZ-US Joint Commission on Science and Technology Collaboration (or JCM) (http://b3nz.org/news/valuable-connections-made-us-researchers-through-mb...). 

The ‘JCM’ has enabled a number of scientists from both countries to engage in a variety of ways on topics associated with border security and management of invasive species over the last few years.  The recent workshop provided a further opportunity for scientists to build-on and develop strategic research collaborations invasive species research.  US Consulate-Auckland staff were able to sit in on a number of sessions and hosted a reception for the group on Wednesday evening.

The workshop provided a unique occasion for US and NZ to meet, communicate on their research progress and plan for ongoing collaboration.  “We seldom get the opportunity to interact with so many US scientists in New Zealand – this workshop was something special” says B3 Director Dr David Teulon.   

Presentations and discussion were held around the emerging plant pathogens, brown marmorated stink bug, border treatments, myrtle rust, Predator Free NZ 2050, weed biocontrol and broader Pacific Regional issues such as Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, invasive ants were both our NZ and US could substantially benefit from enhanced collaborative efforts.

There was strong interest in this workshop from both New Zealand government and industry organisations, and this which is reflected by the significant sponsorship from these sources and the many satellite meetings attended by our US scientists.   US scientists were the key participants at: 

  • A number of brown marmorated stink bug industry and commodity treatment workshops in Central Otago, Hawkes Bay, and Bay of Plenty
  • A meeting of the GIA Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Council Working Group in Wellington
  • A meeting of the GIA Fruit Council Working Group in Auckland
  • A publically open myrtle rust symposium attended by about 120 people in Auckland

“The critique and suggested improvements of our draft Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Response Plan by US experts has validated our work thus far but also provided insights into new tools and planning for the fight to keep this devastating pest out of New Zealand” says Richard Palmer (Deputy CE, Horticulture NZ).

Support from MPI, USDA, Apple & Pears NZ, Better Border Biosecurity (B3), Dairy NZ, Horticulture NZ, Kiwi Vine Health, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research, Scion, Summerfruit NZ and the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) Secretariat was instrumental in the successful outcome of both the satellite meetings and main workshop. 

 

Contact:  David [dot] Teulon [at] plantandfood [dot] co [dot] nz