Funded Research Projects: FOREST ECOLOGY

Identifying Emerging Pathways of Asian Gypsy Moth in the Pacific Northwest

Research Sponsored By: USDA
Principal Investigator: Patrick Tobin
Project Description
The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a highly populated region and one of the fastest growing areas of the United States. Not surprisingly, the ports of Tacoma, Seattle, and Portland have become major ports-of-entry for foreign trade. The top five trading partners (in terms of value) for the port of Tacoma, for example, are countries in which the Asian gypsy moth (AGM) is native (China/Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam). Moreover, over the last year, cargo has been re-routed through PNW ports due to congestion at other U.S. West Coast ports following contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The AGM is not established in North America, and previous detections of AGM in North America have resulted in its successful eradication. However, previous detections of AGM in the PNW have generally been fewer in number (e.g., generally only 1-2 trapped males), limited in spatial scale (e.g., generally only 1-2 trap locations), and have not occurred since 2001 in Oregon and 1999 in Washington State. In 2015 so far, 8 AGM males have been trapped from seven different locations in Washington State (from Kent, WA to Vancouver, WA), and 2 AGM have been detected from the Portland area. These recent detection events greatly underscore the need to investigate potential emerging invasion pathways that could be facilitating the introduction of AGM into the PNW. In this study we will specifically seek to identify potential emerging AGM pathways in the PNW and quantify their contribution to AGM introduction. We will use existing datasets or develop new ones to accomplish our objectives. The immediate deliverable of this proposed work is the development of an improved risk based model that aims to reduce the arrival and establishment of AGM in the PNW. We anticipate that this will greatly optimize detection efforts by the U.S. Customs Border Protection, which will consequently reduce the burden of State and Federal agencies responsible for AGM eradication programs. This is of paramount importance in the PNW due to the challenges associated with the implementation of eradication programs in heavily populated areas.