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Webinar: Reviewing the Impacts of Climate Change on Biological Control Agents: Identifying Research Priorities and Knowledge Gaps

September 20, 2023 @ 1:00 pm 2:00 pm CDT

Biocontrol, the practice of using one species (biocontrol agents) to control another (target pest) is an important management tool. Conservation, augmentative, and classical/importation biocontrol have all been successfully used to reduce target pest species in agriculture and natural systems. Climate change may influence both well-established and new biocontrol relationships, yet the effects of climate change on biocontrol agents remains largely unknown. Using a systematic literature review, we evaluate the empirical evidence for climate change effects on biocontrol agents; identifying the types of biocontrol agents, variety of responses, and environmental conditions most frequently tested by experimental studies. These results highlight the state of the science behind climate change impacts on biocontrol and the areas where both managers and researchers can work together to address current knowledge gaps.


Jennifer Andreas is a Professor with Washington State University Extension where she leads the Integrated Weed Control Project (IWCP) and acts as the state weed biocontrol specialist. Jennifer started working in biological weed control in 1998 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Lethbridge Research Centre while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Lethbridge. She continued with biocontrol research at CABI – Switzerland and then completed a Master’s of Science in Entomology at the University of Idaho, where she investigated the environmental safety of the houndstongue root weevil.  In 2005, she joined WSU and shifted her focus onto invasive species education, biocontrol implementation and education and is the primary biocontrol resource for Washington State. In addition to this work, Jennifer is chair for the Flowering Rush Biocontrol Consortium, co-chair of the Columbia Basin CWMA, co-chair of NAISMA’s Classical Biological Control Committee, and conducts research for several weed-biocontrol systems. To learn more, please visit: www.invasives.wsu.edu.

Annette Evans is a Postdoctoral Research Associated with the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Annette earned a Masters in Biosecurity and Conservation from the University of Auckland where she studied the relationship between endemic scale insects and geckos following the removal of invasive mammals on an isolated island in New Zealand. She then pursed a PhD at University of Connecticut where she studied how climate change impacts the eco-evolutionary dynamics of red-backed salamanders. In 2021, Annette joined the leadership team at the Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management Network (https://www.risccnetwork.org/northeast) and has worked on a variety of invasive species projects including modeling range shifting invasive plants, synthesizing invasive species research and management priorities identified in RISCC surveys, and evaluating current evidence for climate change impacts on biocontrol organisms. 


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