Tools for monitoring the establishment and impacts of two biological control agents on introduced Phragmites australis in Ontario

Introduced Phragmites australis (common reed) is one of the most invasive plants in North America. The weed reduces native plant and animal diversity, disrupts ecosystem processes, and poses a threat to the native North American subspecies of common reed, P. australis ssp. americanus. Conventional methods for controlling introduced P. australis such as herbicides, cutting, and burning are prohibitively expensive, harmful to non-target species, and have seen little success. In partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), we aim to develop tools to implement and monitor the success of a biological control program for introduced P. australis in Ontario. Our first objective is to monitor the establishment and impacts of two recently introduced biological control agents on introduced P. australis. Our second objective is to use newly developed monitoring tools, including pheromone traps and UAV drone technology, to assess release methods and identify optimal release conditions for the two agents. The proposed research will aid DUC and other Ontario land managers in the conservation of Ontario wetlands, and provide site-specific direction for the incorporation of biological control into P. australis management programs.

Ian Jones
Faculty Supervisor: 
Sandy Smith
Partner University: