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.
Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer, the Chair of the Action, leading the discussions during the MC meeting in Vianden
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
Michel Thibaudon (RNSA France) presenting “The French evolution of exposition and health impact since 10 years” at the SMARTER Final Conference.
The Vianden meeting was successfully organised by Christian Ries, who also led the social programme (on the piano)
The first observations of active Ophraella adults, eggs, and larvae have been made in April 2016 in Northern Italy and Southern Switzerland. We would like to encourage anybody who works on the ragweed leaf beetle to participate in ourOphraella occurrence survey: http://internationalragweedsociety.org/smarter/ophraella-survey/ ‘
Fourteen members of WG1 and the Ophraella Task Force met on 23/03/2016. The meeting was organized by Prof. Francesco Vidotto from the University of Turin.
In the meeting, collaboration for the upcoming field season and the output for the Action that will last until November 2016 was discussed. During the lunch excursion, the first young seedlings of Ambrosia artemisiifolia were found, as well as an overwintering Ophraella communa as a motivating indicator for the start of the next field season.
WG1 and the Ophraella Task Force at Torino
Francesco Vidotto and Silvia Fogliatto hosted a Core Group meeting at the University of Torino. The members of the Core Group presented and discussed the progress and future plans of the Working Groups and Task Forces. The final activities of the Action were planned, and the budget discussed. During the meeting in Luxemburg (12-13 September 2016) there will be Core Group and Management Committee meetings, as well as small meetings among the Working Groups and Taskforces. On Tuesday 13 September, a SMARTER conference will be organized in collaboration with COST Action Alien Challenge. Also a meeting was planned to prepare the Final Action Report in Leiden (31 October-1 November 2016). It was decided that this website would be archived at the end of the Action, and that the contents would be passed to the International Ragweed Society (President Maira Bonini).
Members of the Core Group at Grugliasco
Members of Working Groups 3 and 4 met at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands on 17-18 March 2016. The meeting started with the presentations of Antoine Champetier and Sandro Steinbach on their work-in-progress on case studies in Sweden and France. Matt Smith followed, and presented the results of several collaborative studies on the current spread of Ambrosia in Europe and the impacts of the Ophraella leaf beetle on pollen levels in the Milan area. Carsten Skjǿth could not attend the meeting, but later joined via Skype. During the discussions that followed, a road map was designed on how to develop a cost benefit model for Ambrosia management for different areas in Europe.
Members of WG 3 & 4 at the meeting in Leiden