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Photo: ©USDA/Scott Bauer.
A female oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) laying eggs in the skin of a papaya.

 

Research findings should reduce trade barriers and boost pest control measures

28 October 2014, Rome/Vienna – Four of the world’s most destructive agricultural pests are actually one and the same fruit fly, according to the results of a global research effort released today. The discovery should lead to the easing of certain international trade restrictions and also aid efforts to combat the ability of these harmful insects to reproduce, experts said.

The so-called Oriental, Philippine, Invasive and Asian Papaya fruit flies, the study shows, all belong to the same biological species, Bactrocera dorsalis, which is causing incalculable damage to horticultural industries and food security across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

The international collaborative effort, involving close to 50 researchers from 20 countries, began in 2009 and was coordinated by FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It followed an integrative approach, examining evidence across a range of disciplines.

The ability to precisely identify pests is central to pest management, including quarantine measures or bans applied to internationally traded food and agriculture products such as fruit and vegetables.

Keeping exotic fruit flies out is a major concern for many countries. The study’s findings mean that trade restrictions linked to the Oriental fruit fly should now fall away in cases where the insect is present in both the importing and exporting country, according to Jorge Hendrichs from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in Vienna.

“This outcome has major implications for global plant biosecurity, especially for developing countries in Africa and Asia,” said the study’s lead author, Mark Schutze, from the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

“For example, the Invasive –now Oriental — fruit fly has devastated African fruit production with crop losses exceeding 80 percent and has led to widespread trade restrictions with refusal of shipments of products into Asia, Europe and Japan, and significant economic and social impacts on farming communities,” Schutze added.

Using sterilized males to mate with wild females

The findings of the study will also simplify techniques like the use of sterilized males to prevent the growth of pest populations.

A form of insect birth control, the sterile insect technique involves releasing mass-bred male flies that have been sterilized by low doses of radiation into infested areas, where they mate with wild females. These do not produce offspring and, as a result, the technique can suppress, if applied systematically on an area-wide basis, populations of wild flies in an environmentally friendly way. The FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories have demonstrated that the four fruit flies freely interbreed, which means that instead of using males from the four supposedly different species, mass-produced sterile Oriental fruit fly males can now be used against all the different populations of this major pest.

“Globally, accepting these four pests as a single species will lead to reduced barriers to international trade, improved pest management, facilitated transboundary international cooperation, more effective quarantine measures, the wider application of established post-harvest treatments, improved fundamental research and, most importantly, enhanced food security for some of the world’s poorest nations,” Schutze said.

The findings of the FAO/IAEA coordinated study, published in the journal Systematic Entomology means that the four, previously considered distinct fruit-fly species, will now be combined under the single name: Bactrocera dorsalis, the Oriental fruit fly.

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sci dev logo

http://www.scidev.net/global/farming/news/tool-to-identify-african-rice-weeds-created.html

[COTONOU, BENIN] Researchers have launched a free interactive tool that can be used to identify nearly 200 weeds that harm rice production in Africa.

The tool, which has been launched by agricultural research institutions AfricaRice and the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), can be accessed online and offline on laptops and CD-ROMs or as an application on smartphones and tablet computers.

People such as researchers, students and farmers can use the tool to identify weed species that affect the rice farming lowlands in East and West Africa.

“The tool works through a schematic image of a [weed] plant where, for different plant parts, you can select shape, colour and other characteristics,” according to AfricaRice weed scientist Jonne Rodenburg. “By selecting characteristics for different [weed] plant parts, the number of likely species gradually decreases.”

After identifying the specific weed, he said, users can use a database to select appropriate interventions. “The tool will guide the user to information on its biology, ecology and management,” he said. “The database contains species-specific weed management advice. In most cases, the advice is categorised according to weed categories. For instance, broad-leaved weeds, grasses, sedges, parasitic weeds, aquatic weeds, perennial weeds and annual weeds.”

People with specific questions, Rodenburg told SciDev.Net when journalists attending the First West Africa Science Journalists Conference last month (26-28 November) visited AfricaRice’s headquarters, can also access online weed science network Weedsbook for more documents and the possibility to interact with weeds scientists across the continent or even around the world.

The researchers, who worked in close collaboration on the project with the African Weeds of Rice project financed by the European Union and the Africa Caribbean Pacific Science and Technology Programme, took three years to produce the tool.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, weeds cause estimated annual rice production losses of at least 2.2 million tonnes and US$1.45 billion, equivalent to 10 million hectares of rice annually, said Rodenburg.

But Antoine Adidéhou, permanent secretary of the Council of Rice Farmers in Benin said that many rice that farmers lacked the computer skills or Internet access and so would find it hard to make use of this valuable resource.

“They will have some difficulties in trying to make good use of this tool,” he said.

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Logo for IPM CRSP

Annual Report 2013
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Kelly Izlar
The IPM Innovation Labs’s FY 2013 (October 1, 2012–September 30, 2013) annual report is now available. Click below to download the document.

http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/publications/annual-reports/annual-report-2013/

For users with lower bandwidth and/or with interest in only certain specific topic areas, we will split individual chapters and major sections out of the Annual Report for you to view individually. Check back in the coming weeks for a list of individual chapters and sections for download. For more information contact: rmuni@vt.edu

Table of Contents

Management Entity Message
Highlights and Achievements in 2012–2013

Regional Programs
Latin America and the Caribbean
East Africa
West Africa
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Central Asia

Global Programs
Parthenium
International Plant Diagnostic Network (IPDN)
International Plant Virus Disease Network (IPVDN)
Impact Assessment
Gender Equity, Knowledge, and Capacity Building

Associate & Buy-In Awards
Indonesia
Nepal
Bangladesh

Training and Publications
Short- and Long-Term Training
Publications

Appendices: Collaborating Institutions and Acronyms

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Editor’s note: As a subscriber this is a message that I received from the LUCID Team, Brisbane Australia. For more information about the LUCID products for pest identification please go to: www.lucidcentral.org

E.A. “Short” Heinrichs

IAPPS Secretary General

————————————————–

Image

From: Lucid Team [mailto:noreply@lucidcentral.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:53 AM
To: Elvis Heinrichs
Subject: NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR LUCID AND LUCIDCENTRAL

Dear Elvis ,
NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR LUCID AND LUCIDCENTRAL
As a subscriber or user of www.lucidcentral.org we wish to make you aware of new arrangements regarding the development, maintenance, and support of Lucid software and related products.
For the past 15 years the Lucid team has been based at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. As of the 1st July 2014, the Lucid team of Matt Taylor, Damian Barnier, Mike Rickerby and Geoff Norton will operate from a newly created company – “Identic” – based in Brisbane.
The University of Queensland has transferred all Intellectual Property associated with Lucid and other products to this newly formed company. Therefore as a Lucid user you will not notice any significant difference in your relationship with us. The Lucidcentral web site will remain the same, your registration on the site will be maintained, and information and support services will continue as usual.
Over the next 6 months we plan to upgrade a number of our products and to increase the number of Lucid keys available as Android and iOS apps and will keep you informed of these developments.
If you wish to contact us about future Lucid developments or projects, please contact Matt Taylor using – matt@lucidcentral.org. Or you can always get in contact with us through the Lucidcentral support page or via our support@lucidcentral.org email address.
We look forward to providing you with our software and services into the future.

Regards,

The Lucid Team

 

 

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NEWSWISE

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/618448/?sc=swtn

Columbia Engineering computer scientists launch electronic field guide to North American birds

Released: 5/28/2014 9:05 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Is it a Crow or a Raven? New Birdsnap App Will Tell You!
Newswise — New York, NY—May 27, 2014—Researchers at Columbia Engineering, led by Computer Science Professor Peter Belhumeur, have taken bird-watching to a new level. Using computer vision and machine learning techniques, they have developed Birdsnap, a new iPhone app that is an electronic field guide featuring 500 of the most common North American bird species. The free app, which enables users to identify bird species through uploaded photos, accompanies a visually beautiful, comprehensive website that includes some 50,000 images. Birdsnap, which also features birdcalls for each species, offers users numerous ways to organize species—alphabetically, by their relationship in the Tree of Life, and by the frequency with which they are sighted at a particular place and season. The researchers, who collaborated with colleagues at the University of Maryland, are presenting their work at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Columbus, OH, June 24 to 27.
“Our goal is to use computer vision and artificial intelligence to create a digital field guide that will help people learn to recognize birds,” says Belhumeur, who launched Leafsnap, a similar electronic field guide for trees, with colleagues two years ago. “We’ve been able to take an incredible collection of data—thousands of photos of birds—and use technology to organize the data in a useful and fun way.”
Belhumeur and his colleague, Computer Science Professor David Jacobs of the University of Maryland, realized that many of the techniques they have developed for face recognition, in work spanning more than a decade, could also be applied to automatic species identification. State-of-the-art face recognition algorithms rely on methods that find correspondences between comparable parts of different faces, so that, for example, a nose is compared to a nose, and an eye to an eye. Birdsnap works the same way, detecting the parts of a bird so that it can examine the visual similarity of its comparable parts (each species is labeled through the location of 17 parts). It automatically discovers visually similar species and makes visual suggestions for how they can be distinguished.
“Categorization is one of the fundamental problems of computer vision,” says Thomas Berg, a Columbia Engineering computer science PhD candidate who works closely with Belhumeur. “Recently, there’s been a lot of progress in fine-grained visual categorization, the recognition of—and distinguishing between—categories that look very similar. What’s really exciting about Birdsnap is that not only does it do well at identifying species, but it can also identify which parts of the bird the algorithm uses to identify each species. Birdsnap then automatically annotates images of the bird to show these distinctive parts—birders call them ‘field marks’—so the user can learn what to look for.”
The team designed what they call “part-based one-vs-one features,” or POOFs, each of which classifies birds of just two species, based on a small part of the body of the bird. The system builds hundreds of POOFs for each pair of species, each based on a different part of the bird, and chooses the parts used by the most accurate POOFs as field marks. Birdsnap also uses POOFs for identification of uploaded images.
The team also took advantage of the fact that modern cameras, especially those on phones, embed the date and location in their images and used that information to improve classification accuracy. Not only did they come up with a fully automatic method to teach users how to identify visually similar species, but they also designed a system that can pinpoint which birds are arriving, departing, or migrating. “You can ID birds in the U.S. wherever you are at any time of year,” Berg notes.
The Leafsnap app, which involved costly time and resources spent in collecting and photographing thousands of leaves, took almost 10 years to develop and now has more than a million users. Belhumeur got Birdsnap going in about six months, thanks to the proliferation of online data sources and advances in computer vision and mobile computing. Photos were downloaded from the Internet, with species labels confirmed by workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, who also labeled the parts. Descriptions were sourced through Wikipedia. The maps were based on data from eBird, a joint venture of Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, and BirdLife, an international network of conservation groups.
Belhumeur hopes next to work with Columbia Engineering colleagues on adding the ability to recognize bird songs, bringing audio and visual recognition together. He also wants to create “smart” binoculars that use this artificial intelligence technology to identify and tag species within the field of view.
“Biological domains—whether trees, dogs, or birds—where taxonomy dictates a clear set of subcategories, are wonderfully well-suited to the problem of fine-grained visual categorization,” Belhumeur observes. “With all the advances in computer vision and information collection, it’s an exciting time to be immersed in visual recognition and big data.”
This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.

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Hispines of the World update
Collaborator: National Museum of Natural History
Author: Charles H. Staines

ImageImageImage

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Identification Technology Program (ITP) is pleased to announce an update to Hispines of the World. The identification tool, originally released in 2012, was developed through collaboration between USDA CPHST Identification Technology Program (ITP) and the National Museum of Natural History.

Hispines (Chrysomelidae, Coleoptera) are a group of approximately 3,000 species worldwide. Currently these species are placed in 195 genera. A number of hispines are considered to be major pests of economic importance. Some of the most serious are the ones that attack palms (Alurnus humeralis, Brontispa longissima) and rice (Dicladispa armigera, Leptispa pygmaea). Other species within this group have been successfully used as biological control agents against invasive weeds.
Hispines of the World provides an easy-to-use, interactive, matrix-based key to all currently recognized genera of hispines (195). The tool has been updated to include fact sheets for each genus, as well as a detailed illustrated description of the group of beetles commonly known as hispines.

• Hispines of the World can be accessed at: http://idtools.org/id/beetles/hispines
• You may also be interested in viewing another ITP tool for chrysomelid pests: Diabrotica ID.
• Visit idtools.org to view other ITP tools
• Visit ITP Android Lucid Mobile Apps and ITP iOS Lucid Mobile Apps to view ITP’s recently released Lucid Mobile apps.

Please feel free to forward this email to your colleagues.
If you did not receive this email directly from Terrence Walters and you would like to be included in future ITP announcement emails, please send a request to itp@aphis.usda.gov.

Terrence Walters, USDA APHIS PPQ S&T FCL ITP Coordinator
Amanda Redford, USDA APHIS PPQ S&T FCL ITP Tool Developer

 

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SciDev

[COTONOU, BENIN] Researchers have launched a free interactive tool that can be used to identify nearly 200 weeds that harm rice production in Africa.

The tool, which has been launched by agricultural research institutions AfricaRice and the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), can be accessed online and offline on laptops and CD-ROMs or as an application on smartphones and tablet computers.

People such as researchers, students and farmers can use the tool to identify weed species that affect the rice farming lowlands in East and West Africa.

“The tool works through a schematic image of a [weed] plant where, for different plant parts, you can select shape, colour and other characteristics,” according to AfricaRice weed scientist Jonne Rodenburg. “By selecting characteristics for different [weed] plant parts, the number of likely species gradually decreases.”

After identifying the specific weed, he said, users can use a database to select appropriate interventions. “The tool will guide the user to information on its biology, ecology and management,” he said. “The database contains species-specific weed management advice. In most cases, the advice is categorised according to weed categories. For instance, broad-leaved weeds, grasses, sedges, parasitic weeds, aquatic weeds, perennial weeds and annual weeds.”

People with specific questions, Rodenburg told SciDev.Net when journalists attending the First West Africa Science Journalists Conference last month (26-28 November) visited AfricaRice’s headquarters, can also access online weed science network Weedsbook  for more documents and the possibility to interact with weeds scientists across the continent or even around the world.

The researchers, who worked in close collaboration on the project with the African Weeds of Rice project financed by the European Union and the Africa Caribbean Pacific Science and Technology Programme, took three years to produce the tool.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, weeds cause estimated annual rice production losses of at least 2.2 million tonnes and US$1.45 billion, equivalent to 10 million hectares of rice annually, said Rodenburg.

But Antoine Adidéhou, permanent secretary of the Council of Rice Farmers in Benin said that many rice that farmers lacked the computer skills or Internet access and so would find it hard to make use of this valuable resource.

“They will have some difficulties in trying to make good use of this tool,” he said.

Read Full Post »

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