Category Archives: Task Forces

SMARTER Dissemination Meeting, Milan

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 meeting obtained some good coverage in the press, and it is possible to see the television news here. Also a news article (in Italian): corriere-sera-on-line

Modelling the impact of ragweed management meeting

grouppictureA trio representing SMARTER WG1, 2, and the TF Population Dynamics met 1-3 August in Nijmegen, Nefigure effect of mowingtherlands, enforced by a fourth participant through skype.

They worked on the integration of experimental data on roadside mowing regimes into demographic models of ragweed across Europe to project long-term effects of such management.

Preliminary results will be presented at the final SMARTER meeting in Luxembourg.

A small excursion to a nearby park with one of the few Dutch ragweed populations revealed that there were only 10 plants left. They will likely be pulled out by some biologists working nextdoor soon…

Call for students: field work on biocontrol and population dynamics of ragweed

The Müller-Schärer Group of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland invites students to apply for a research period to participate in field research on biological control of ragweed by the accidentally introduced ragweed leaf beetle Ophraella communa, and on the population dynamics of ragweed. This includes experiments in Switzerland, Italy and France, with different collaborators from the SMARTER Task Forces Ophraella and Population Dynamics.

Applications can be submitted until 15 January 2016.

click here to enlarge flyercall Ambrosia-Ophraella 2016


Task Force Ophraella met to coordinate field work (May 2015, Milano)

On the 8th of May, members of the Task Force Ophraella met at the Milano University Bicocca to coordinate all the field work to assess risks and benefits of the establishment of the ragweed leaf beetle Ophraella communa for the coming months. The 15 attendees from Italy, Switzerland and Slovakia agreed on protocols for new experiments, and all practical implementations including collaborative efforts. The Task Force can now confidently start the planned surveys, and the 13 experiments at 12 different locations of this summer.


Task Force Ophraella finds beetle eggs on Ambrosia seedlings and exchanges results from 2014 (April 2015, Lugano, Switzerland)

The Task Force Ophraella met on 11 and 12 April 2015 in the area where the ragweed leaf beetle Ophraella communa has established. On a joint field trip in the Milano area, they found egg batches on seedlings of Ambrosia artemisiifolia. By sweep netting they collected female and male beetles, brought to the University of Fribourg to start a new rearing in the quarantaine facilities.

Next day, the Task Force was hosted by the Museum of Natural History in Lugano, Switzerland. Members exchanged results obtained in 2014, and the invited speaker Yuya Fukano from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology updated them about the status quo of the work on Ophraella communa in Japan. Several Task Force members initiated new collaborative experiments starting in 2015.

Blog picture collection