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Invasive mealybugs in Southeast Asia: Ecological Insights to facilitate control December 8-11, 2013
Tuesday, 2013/12/03 | 14:57:49

Throughout the world, invasive species are severely impacting agricultural, forest and urban ecosystems. In the US alone, biotic invasions are deemed to cost at least $137 billion dollars annually, while putting considerable pressure on native ecosystems and accelerating species decline or extinction. In Southeast Asia, a series of important staple and cash crops have come under mounting pressure through an unfortunate coincidence of pest invasions, deficient quarantine, and crop expansion.


Southeast Asian cassava crops remained virtually free of major phytosanitary problems until 2008, when one of the most destructive pests of cassava, Phenacoccus manihoti (Hemiptera: Pseudoccidae), was recorded in Thailand and then in neighboring countries. Other polyphagous invasive mealybugs, such as Paracoccus marginatus, Phenacoccus madeirensis or Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi, are also affecting cassava crops in parts of the region, although to an unknown degree.


 In general, proper management approaches wait to be defined for several of these (novel) invasive mealybugs. Biological control measures have been taken against P. manihoti (including the release of parasitoids from the neotropics), but other pests wait to be addressed. A successful pest management programs hinge upon in-depth insights into the ecology of these invasive species and their correct identification. However, up till present, no comprehensive workshops or training events have been held on these topics in the SE Asia region.


In this workshop, we intend to raise broader awareness about invasive mealybugs in SE Asia (and particularly of those species that affect cassava crops), to gain critical insights in their ecology, and to design a plan of action to slow their spread and impact. The idea of the workshop is to bring national scientists (from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and southern China) together with pest management professionals from abroad. Academic talks will be alternated with active discussion sessions around a select set of topics. For graduate students and technical staff of local plant health institutions, hands-on training will be provided - by two celebrated mealybug taxonomists - on sample processing, slide mounting and morphology-based identification of some of these new invasive pests. Lastly, a field trip will be organized to some of southern Vietnam’s foremost cassava growing areas (i.e., Tay Ninh province), affected by invasive pests such as P. manihoti.


The workshop will count with the assistance of several prominent entomologists and pest management professionals, including Dr. Muniappan (Virginia Tech, USA), Dr. Heikki Hokkanen (UHelsinki, Finland), Dr. Ingeborg Menzler (UHelsinki, Finland), Dr. Yijuan Xu (South China Agricultural University), Dr. James Harwood (UKentucky, USA), Dr. Takumasa Kondo (Corpoica, Colombia) and Dr. Aunu Rauf (Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia).


Organizing institutions for this event are the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Southern Vietnam (IAS), The Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) and the Plant Protection Department (PPD).


Please see  Workshop program

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