Project Description :
Japanese knotweed is a major invasive plant in the United States that has occupied many of the roadside edges and riverside plant communities throughout the Northeast. We are seeking a student to work on Japanese knotweed ecology and its competition on river gravel bars with seedlings of native forest trees. Failure of tree seedlings to thrive in such sites due to knotweed dominance of bars may affect forest colonization of new land created as rivers change position.
The project also includes work on biocontrol of Japanese knotweed through introduction of a specialized sucking insect (psyllid) from Japan. Work on biocontrol includes field releases and monitoring for establishment and experiments on impact of insect on plant growth and health. We are in the process of obtaining a permit for release of this insect and expect to have that permit in hand sometime in the coming year. The student doing this project would thus be poised to help us implement release of this biological control agent ,once we have that permit. The data collected this field season would provide field sites and estimates of knotweed density that would be followed through time after release of the psyllid at these sites. This would become one of the leading weed biological control projects in the country, and the student participant would be in on the ground floor of this effort.