Mexican fruit flies on citrus fruit: Jack Dykinga, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
USDA has proclaimed April to be Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to consider how invasive species can crawl, swarm or ooze their way into your daily life. The fact is, invasive pests and diseases hunger for many of the same things we enjoy each day. And as they feast on America’s agricultural and natural resources, they can devastate crops and forests, throw ecosystems out of balance and lead to lost jobs and closed export markets. Read more »
Volunteers help harvest native seedlings at the Hiawatha National Forest greenhouse in Marquette, Mich. U.S. Forest Service photo.
Biologists have long recognized the important role native plants play in maintaining a healthy forest. When native plants are crowded out by invasive plants, those native species can suffer to the point of extinction.
Since the early 1990s, the Hiawatha National Forest has operated a greenhouse in Marquette, Mich. The idea is to provide both native seeds and seedlings for successful restoration of sites impacted by logging or disturbed by other land management activities. For instance, when aging culverts are replaced, native plants can be introduced to re-vegetate disturbed soil. Seeds and seedlings are also used to enhance existing wildlife habitats. Read more »
Brianne O’Rourke, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, holds a large goldfish found in the Tahoe Keys of Lake Tahoe. (Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Lake Tahoe, the country’s highest alpine lake, is no goldfish bowl.
But U.S. Forest Service fish biologists with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit said they’re well-acquainted with the big goldfish – several pounds and up to 4 to 8 inches long – living in the large freshwater lake along the border between California and Nevada. Read more »
The emerald ash borer continues to expand its range in eastern forests and urban areas.
The Forest Service is making it easier than ever to report the spread of insects that have invaded America’s national, state, private and urban forests.
Forest Health Protection has released Version 2 of its mapping and reporting portal. Built on the latest technology, the portal is an interactive and engaging complement to the agency’s Major Forest Insect and Disease Conditions annual reports. Read more »
Hi, I’m Dr. Janet Whaley, an aquatic veterinarian and avid angler. I guess you could say fish are my passion! I work every day to ensure the continued health of our nation’s fish, so that in my spare time, I can be out on the water with my fishing pole and a camera.
Invasive species can spread unintentionally on land and in the water. This could damage our waters and our forests – and leave us with unhealthy or fewer fish to catch. I don’t know about you, but I want to be sure I can bring my family fishing for years to come. So I take proper steps to help keep invasive species in check. The basic steps all anglers (and boaters, too) need to keep in mind include: Read more »
Painting by Taina Litwak of a new species of tiny parasitic wasp in the genus Perischus. Done in 2011 for Dr. Matt Buffington. The painting starts with a pencil drawing done through the microscope of a dead pinned specimen. Details for this painting were included which only are visible in scanning electron microphotographs, as the species is so very small. The painting itself is done digitally in Adobe Photoshop. The species was first collected in South America in 2010 and is involved with parasitizing a species complex of flies which lay eggs in cucurbit plants (melon, cucumber and squash family).
I am a scientific illustrator on staff with the Systematic Entomology Lab, in the Plant Sciences Institute, ARS, located in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Secretary Vilsack, who was interested in several of my paintings of newly described species of insects that I entered in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2012 Employee Art Exhibit. As I answered his questions, it occurred to me that people may not associate USDA with artistry or illustration and that my job as “Scientific Illustrator” may in fact seem unusual to many. Read more »