The COST SMARTER Dissemination Meeting “Ragweed management and the potential benefit and risk of Ophraella communa in Northern Italy – Researchers meet their Stakeholders” was held on 28th of October 2016, in Rho (Milan). About 100 people, including representatives from Local Authorities and Municipalities, Health Regional Authorities and the Italian National Television, attended the morning meeting. About 40 people participated on the guided visit to the experimental fields in Magnago during the afternoon.
The final synthesis meeting took place at the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden on October 31-November1, 2016. The meeting was attended by thirteen SMARTER members, mainly form the core group. They shared the latest results and discussed how to link the datasets generated during the project for final publications. Furthermore the SMARTER project was evaluated by naming positive and negative aspects. Finally, input was given for the drafting the final report.
Specialists in Ambrosia taxonomy and genetics met at Cagliari, Sardinia (3-4.10.2016), to discuss closure for ongoing collaborative projects and to plan future collaborations.
On the first day the group tried to verify Sardinian populations of Ambrosia and found to their surprise the last 2 individuals of Ambrosia maritima, a taxon that is said to be the only native taxon of the genus in the Old World.
During the workshop on the second day, the specialists provided mostly new (and unpublished) information on the state of the art in their respective fields. Improved identification tools were brought to an almost finished state, and future collaborations beyong the SMARTER Action were arranged.
A final synthesis meeting for COST SMARTER will be held at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) 31 October – 2 November 2016.
The meeting aims to bring together key players (leaders of the various WGs and TFs) of COST SMARTER to further advance our achievements by discussing synthesis publications on the topics listed below:
(i) linking aerobiology to ecology to monitor ragweed (all species) abundances and distribution throughout Europe
(ii) impact of management (cutting, competitive vegetation, biocontrol) on ragweed performance, population dynamics and spread, and on aerial pollen
(iii) linking the biology of Ophraella to the impact on plant performance, population dynamics, pollen release, aerial pollen concentration and public health economics
(iv) evaluation of management success (continue discussion of Lyon and Vianden)
(v) guidelines on best practices (habitat- and region specific)
(vi) relationships between pollen in the air and public health
(vii) final agreements on the website
Members of European COST Action for the sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe “SMARTER” met in the historic and picturesque town of Vianden in north-eastern Luxembourg.
The programme included meetings for Working Group 2 (11 Sept) as well as the Core Group, Managament Committee, and TF Population Dynamics (12 Sept). These were followed by the Final SMARTER Conference that preceded the 9th International Conference on Biological Invasions “Interactions with Environmental Change” (NEOBIOTA 2016) .
An important aim of the WG2 Vegetation Management meeting was to finish the manual of the standardised protocol for testing the soil seed bank of Ambrosia artemisiifolia, which is simple and straightforward enough for practitioners to use but based on biological knowledge. Rea Hall reported on the TTC tests and Rodolfo Gentili on the competitive seed mixtures, and a paper on these topics was discussed. Gerhard Karrer reported on the taxonomy group activities, e.g. on Ambrosia maritima, which is on base of these investigations recently to be considered nearly extinct in the Mediterranean.
The Core Group and Management Committee meetings mainly focused on discussing the successes and failures of the COST Action, and how the work being carried out by the various Working Groups and Task Forces can be brought together as lack of synthesis was identified as a major failing of SMARTER so far.
Success stories of the Action include the work carried out in estimating the risk of non-target effects of Ophraella commune following its accidental introduction into Northern Italy and the number of publications being prepared by the Action, many of which were presented during the Final Conference and the abstracts can be viewed here Abstracts-smarter-vianden2016.
Brochure with the final achievements: depl_smarter-20164