Task Force Population Dynamics kicks off with workshop ragweed demography

Twenty participants, from France to Armenia, gathered Friday 23 May in Montpellier for the first meeting of the Task Force Population Dynamics. In a half-day workshop, organised by the coordinator Suzanne Lommen (CH), and the local organiser Bruno Chauvel (FR), everyone was trained to conduct the protocol, especially developed to study the demography of common ragweed.

Finding the Ambrosia plants

Finding the Ambrosia plants

The participants received the protocol, standardized record forms and help tools. After a presentation, they went outside to practice all aspects of the protocol on an artificially created population in the garden – from setting up the study plots, tagging individual plants, to measuring the viability of seeds extracted from soil samples. In the final discussion, the methods to take measures were optimized and fine-tuned. Now everyone is prepared to monitor their local ragweed populations. An online forum was initiated to share experiences during the field season.

Delimiting plots and measuring plants

Delimiting plots and measuring plants

Sampling soil, extracting and identifying Ambrosia seeds, and analysing their viability

Sampling soil, extracting and identifying Ambrosia seeds, and analysing their viability

COST SMARTER Working Group and Core Group meetings, May 2014

The COST SMARTER Working Group and Core Group meetings were held in Montpellier, France, 23-25 May 2014. The venue was the School of Ingenieurs of Agronomy at Montpellier SupAgro. The meeting was preceded by a special COST SMARTER session on ragweed at the European Weed Research Society’s 4th International Symposium on Weeds and Invasive Plants. The special SMARTER session was held on Thursday 25 May, and included presentations by Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland (Chair) and Dr Carsten Ambelas Skjøth from the University of Worcester in the UK (Vice-Chair).


Participants at the COST SMARTER Working Group and Core Group meetings, Montpellier, France, 23-25 May 2014

The main SMARTER meeting kicked off in the morning of Friday 22 May with a workshop on monitoring Ambrosia populations, which was attended by members of the Task Force on Population Dynamics. Working Group meetings convened on Friday afternoon, and continued again on Saturday morning. Many of the participants also continued their discussions during the SMARTER dinner that was held in the old centre of Montpellier on Friday evening.

The Working Group meetings finished on Saturday 23 May with an excursion to view three different Ambrosia species (A. psilostachya, A. tenuifolia, and A. artemisiifolia) at sites with different habitats. The excursion concluded with dinner at a “little French restaurant on the road”, by the historic and picturesque Roman aquaduct “Pont du Gard”. After a busy few days, the SMARTER meeting came to an end at Sunday lunchtime, 25 May, after the Extended Core Group Meeting.

Gradual loss of genetic diversity of Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. populations in the invaded range of central Serbia

Citation: Kočiš-Tubić N., Đan M., Veličković N., Anačkov G., Obreht D. (2014) Gradual loss of genetic diversity of Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. populations in the invaded range of central Serbia. Genetika, 46 (1): 255-268

Link to full text

Abstract: Considering the importance of genetic studies in understanding of invasive species, our main objectives in this study were to analyze the genetic diversity and genetic structure of Ambrosia artemisiifolia populations from Central Serbia, a relatively recently invaded region. Comparing values of genetic measures obtained by microsatellite analyses, a number of differences were detected in genetic diversity between sampled populations of Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. . Allelic richness-r (ranged from 5.42 to 7.80), the mean number of alleles per locus-NA (5.8-8.4) and the mean number of rare alleles per locus-NR (2.8-5.8) have quite similar ranges across populations. We observed greater genetic variability in populations from the northern part of investigated area than in southern populations. Based on pairwise Fst values, AMOVA results and PCo Analysis, moderate differentiation among population was detected, while the STRUCTURE analysis clearly separated SR-Kru and SR-Les. Data obtained for analyses of differentiation and gradual losses of genetic diversity of sampled populations provides useful information about invasion dynamics of common ragweed in recently invaded region.

Grant for Early Stage Researcher (ESR)

We are pleased to inform you that, within the call for “Conference Grants for an ESR” the FA Domain Committee of COST has awarded, among many participants, Mr Branko SIKOPARIJA, Laboratory for Palynology, Faculty of Sciences University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia, one member of our action, to take part to the International Conference on Atmospheric Dust – DUST2014, where he will present a oral speech on “MODELLING ATMOSPHERIC CONCENTRATIONS OF RAGWEED POLLEN FROM LOCAL AND DISTANT SOURCES”


Call for 10 new Short Term Scientific Missions for 2014

In the frame of Task 5 on Training, knowledge and technology transfer SMARTER launched a call for 10 new short term scientific missions (STSMs) available in 2014. At this stage there are no deadlines for the submission, and thus applications will be assessed on the basis of first come first served, and supported on condition they fit the general requirements and have a sufficient scientific merit to deserve the support.

→ Detailed webpage about Short Term Scientific Missions