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Rhodes launches Centre for Biological Control

Date Released: Wed, 1 November 2017 16:17 +0200

Rhodes University is launching its Centre for Biological Control in the Department of Zoology and Entomology. The Centre builds on the existing capacity within the institution and facilitates partnerships with other organisations locally, regionally and internationally.

Date: Thursday, 2 November 2017

Time: 10h30 – 14h30

Venue: The Barratt Complex, Rhodes University.

The Centre for Biological Control houses two Mass Rearing facilities; the Waainek Mass Rearing Facility and the Uitenhage Biological Control Facility. It also houses a Quarantine Facility for research into host-specificity and fecundity of potential biological control agents.

The facilities cultivate invasive alien plants in controlled greenhouse environments. These plants are then used to culture the biological control agent specifically approved for control of that particular plant and eventually released at recognised and monitored invasive plant populations across South Africa.

These biological control agents are available free to researchers, implementation officers, reserve and water quality managers, farmers and concerned members of the public who want to get involved in preserving biodiversity and controlling invasive species in their local natural environments.

Biological control agents mass reared by the centre are approved for safe release in South Africa by the regulatory bodies; the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Environmental Affairs and conform to current legislation.

The identification and control of invasive species is a continuous and ever evolving problem. Every year more species are identified as problematic and more effort is invested into finding new biological control agents.

The centre came about as a result of the transitioning of the Biological Control Research Groupinto the Centre for Biological Controlearlier this year (2017).

For nearly 45 years, biological control activities at Rhodes University have been the domain of an informal association of teachers, researchers, students, administrators and other support staff.

However, the time is now right to consolidate these efforts by forming a single, formally recognised entity and centre for excellence. For the last 14 years, the Centre has attracted signification external funding, generated a high number of scholarly outputs and post-graduates.

The programme includes a post lunchtime tour to the Waainek Mass Rearing Facility

Source:Communications