B3 Director David Teulon’s recent visit to Europe has strengthened critical research connections with networks working in the areas of plant biosecurity including the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).
Dr Teulon presented about the activities of B3 at EPPO in November where discussions were also held on databases such as the EPPO database on plant and pest species (Global Database), the EPPO databases to support diagnostics (such as EPPO Q-bank) and the B3 global eradication and response database (GERDA).
Dr Baldissera Giovani, Euphresco Co-ordinator located at EPPO, said the meeting was a great opportunity to understand how B3 is organized and how New Zealand successfully established collaborations on research priorities that are shared by research organizations, policy makers, government, industry and the general public.
Information on the work on some of the priority pests for the EPPO region (e.g. PRA on Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus) and New Zealand (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug BMSB) was shared. The benefits to establish synergies between research activities coordinated by B3 and those initiated via Euphresco were extensively discussed, altogether with the need for a global phytosanitary research coordination network as stated in the IPPC 2020-2030 Strategic Framework.
Following on from his EPPO presentation, Dr Teulon visited with BGCI Director of Global Programmes Suzanne Sharrock and Seed Conservation and Plant Health Network Coordinator Kate Marfleet which is headquartered at Kew in London.
BGCI is a worldwide networking organisation linking botanic gardens and arboreta. Sharrock said one of its more exciting projects is the International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) that builds on the fact that many members maintain exotic plant species in their living collections.
The aim of the IPSN is to monitor these exotic species for damage by pests and disease not present in their native environments and in this way, act as an early warning system for new pest and disease attack.
“New Zealand has been a pioneer in this sentinel (or expatriate) plant approach and NZ scientists have been studying NZ plants in collections outside NZ for some years,” Ms Sharrock said. “The involvement of NZ is of vital importance to the IPSN and we highly value the experience and support of our NZ partners,” she added.
More information on the IPSN including a clip from Auckland Botanic Gardens can be found here.