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Title: Establishment, spread and early impacts of the first biocontrol agent against an invasive plant in continental Europe
Authors: López-Núñez, Francisco Alejandro 
Marchante, Elizabete 
Heleno, Ruben 
Duarte, Liliana Neto
Palhas, Jael
Impson, Fiona
Freitas, Helena 
Marchante, Hélia 
Keywords: Bud-galling wasp; Hemisphere shift; Invasive plant management; Phenological mismatch; Post-release monitoring; Sydney golden wattle
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Project: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/COMPETE/131547/PT/INVAsive plant species management in Portugal: from early DEtection to Remote sensing and Biocontrol of Acacia longifolia - INVADER-B 
info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/PTDC/COMPETE/4896/PT/Invader - Ferramentas INoVAdoras para Detectar Espécies invasoras e agentes de contRolo biológico 
GANHA (POSEUR-03-2215-FC-000052) 
Serial title, monograph or event: Journal of Environmental Management
Volume: 290
Abstract: Classical biocontrol is key for the successful management of invasive alien plants; yet, it is still relatively new in Europe. Although post-release monitoring is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of a biocontrol agent, it is often neglected. This study reports the detailed post-release monitoring of the first biocontrol agent intentionally introduced against an invasive plant in continental Europe. The Australian bud-galling wasp Trichilogaster acaciaelongifoliae (Frogatt) is used to control the invasive Acacia longifolia (Andr.) Willd., with a long history of success in South Africa. This biocontrol agent was first released in Europe in 2015 at several sites along the Portuguese coast. We monitored the establishment, spread and early impacts of T. acaciaelongifoliae on target-plants in Portugal, across 61 sites, from 2015 to 2020. Initial release of adults emerging from galls imported from South Africa and the subsequent releases from galls established in Portugal (2018 onwards) was compared, assessing the implications of the hemisphere shift. The impacts on the reproductive output and vegetative growth of A. longifolia were evaluated in more detail at three sites. From 2015 to 2019, 3567 T. acaciaelongifoliae were released at 61 sites, with establishment confirmed at 36 sites by 2020. The transfer of the wasp from the southern hemisphere limited its initial establishment, but increased rates of establishment followed with synchronization of its life cycle with northern hemisphere conditions. Therefore, after an initial moderate establishment, T. acaciaelongifoliae adapted to the northern hemisphere conditions and experienced an exponential growth (from 66 galls by 2016, to 24000 galls by 2018). Galled A. longifolia branches produced significantly fewer pods (-84.1%), seeds (-95.2%) and secondary branches (-33.3%) and had fewer phyllodes but increased growth of the main branch compared to ungalled branches. Trichilogaster acaciaelongifoliae successfully established in the northern hemisphere, despite the initial phenological mismatch and adverse weather conditions. To achieve this, it had to establish and synchronize its life cycle with the phenology of its host-plant, after which it developed exponentially and began to show significant impacts on the reproductive output of A. longifolia.
ISSN: 03014797
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112545
Rights: embargoedAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CFE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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