VALUABLE CONNECTIONS MADE WITH US RESEARCHERS THROUGH THE MBIE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS FUND

B3 (Border Biosecurity for Plant Pests and Diseases) and Landcare Research (New Tools and Technologies for Invasive Animal Management) have been funded for two years from the MBIE International Relationships Fund to help coordinate priority topics and cross-cutting action items for Invasive Species Research under the NZ-US Joint Commission on Science and Technology Collaboration (or JCM).

A working group comprising Phil Cowan (Landcare) and David Teulon (B3) has been meeting with senior US managers: Phillip Andreozzi (National Invasive Species Council), Hilda Diaz-Soltero, John Eisemann, Kevin Hackett, Deborah Hayes, Rosalind James, Stephen Kendrot (all USDA) from time to time to oversee this initiative.

From a B3 point of view this funding has been invaluable in allowing New Zealand researchers to build and make new connections for key pests (e.g. brown marmorated stink bug) and diseases (e.g. Phytophpthora) threatening New Zealand’s productive and natural plant systems.  The presence of these species in the US and the experience of US researchers currently managing them in their country, is proving to be invaluable for strengthening New Zealand’s border biosecurity system

Some examples of US scientist to NZ scientist interactions include: 

  • John Charles (PFR) to initiate actions for pre-emptive biological control of BMSB with US collaborators (esp. Kim Hoelmer, USDA ARS).

  • Beccy Ganley (Scion) to invite a number of B3 researchers to a Phytophthora workshop in Rotorua led by Nik Grunwaldd (USDA/OSU).

  • Nari Williams (Scion) to visit a number US researchers (esp. Oregon State University) working on Phytophthera.

  • Susan Worner (BPRC) and 4 PhD students (Audrey Lustig, Ursula Torres, Marona Rovira Capdevila and Mariona Roige) to attend workshops at the Center for Integrated Pest Management (CIPM) (North Carolina State University) and the Spatial Analytic Framework for Advanced Risk Information Systems (SAFARIS).

  • Taylor Welsh (PFR) to visit US collaborators (Jim Carpenter, USDA ARS) exploring the use of Sterile Insect Technique for BMSB.

  • Aimee Harper (PFR) to visit US collaborators (Ashot Khrimian, USDA ARS) to work on the discovery of volatile organic compounds to train sniffers (bees, dogs).

  • Michael Rostas (LU), Ecki Brockerhoff (Scion) and Laura Nixon (PhD, LU) to visit US collaborators (Tracy Leskey, Ashot Khrimian both USDA ARS) to initiate research on volatile organic detection for detection of risk organisms in sea-freight containers.

The support of US scientists for these visits and ongoing project development has been very positive with significant in-kind support into research projects of mutual interest.

Micaela Buckley (MBIE Counsellor - Science & Innovation, U.S. & Canada) says: “The activities carriedout in this part of the US-NZ Joint Commision on Science and Technology reflect oth the active engagement of New Zealand scientists in the international science community and the important outcomes of that collaboration in terms of tangible outcomes for New Zealand border biosecurity.”

Additionally, the JCM supported a very informative US/NZ session at the recent the 27th USDA Interagency Research Forum on Invasive Species in Annapolis, Maryland (January 2016) organised by Ecki Brockerhoff (B3/Scion) and Sandy Liebhold (USDA FS).  Another larger joint US/NZ conference is planned for New Zealand in December 2016.  

 For more information contact:

 David Teulon (B3 Director)

david [dot] teulon [at] plantandfood [dot] co [dot] nz