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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.

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CIMMYT

Speed read

  • Pests are going undetected in developing nations and severely harming harvests
  • For example, Myanmar may be detecting only about half of estimated 720 pests
  • Investment in research capacity in needed to tackle the problem

[SANTIAGO] The number of different pests plaguing crops in the developing world may be vastly underestimated, contributing to severely reduced harvests in some of the world’s most important food-producing nations, say researchers.

About 200 pests and pathogens per country fly under the radar of researchers and policymakers in the developing world due to a lack of technical capacity to detect them, according to a study.

“Highly-productive countries such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines are likely to be harbouring hundreds more crop pests than currently known,” says the study published in New Phytologist last month (11 February).

It adds that crop pests and pathogens pose a significant threat to globalfood security, with around one sixth of the world’s agriculturalproduction lost to them each year.

The team used a statistical model to relate the known distribution of about 2,000 crop destroying-organisms in 195 countries to physical and socio-economic factors, such as agricultural production, climate, and research and development (R&D) expenditure.

The researchers used the model to estimate how many pests would be found if all countries had the same GDP (gross domestic product) and R&D spending as the United States. The difference between this and the known pest numbers indicated how many pests may be going undetected: around 205 per country on average.

For example, Myanmar, which produces large amounts of rice but spends little on R&D, has reported 359 pests. The model found it may have as many as 723 pests, which may mean that only about half of the total pest burden is being detected.

“To tackle pests and pathogens we need to know they are there. Our paper suggests that more investment is needed in developing countries to help identify pests,” lead author Daniel Bebber, from Exeter University, United Kingdom, tells SciDev.Net.

This is especially true for microorganisms, which require greater technological capacity to identify them than larger pests such as insects, say the researchers.

Jan Breithaupt, an agricultural officer for the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s division of Pest and Pesticide Management, says the study underlines the importance of facilities and expert knowledge “to prevent crop damage and manage pests proactively, particularly in developing countries”.

He says local farmers’ knowledge of their own environment — rarely taken into account in pest detection studies — should be used too.

He also warns that climate change will likely compound the problem as it will increase the number of pests affecting crops.

Francisco Morales, based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, agrees that in Latin America more investment in research would increase capacity to detect and identify pests.

But he points out the need for tougher quarantine measures for imported agricultural products, too.

Link to full paper in New Phytologist   

References

New Phytologist doi: 10.1111/nph.12722 (2014)

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