Juan Briano, the lab's director since 2003, and the scientific team at SABCL have explored Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay and studied the abundance, biology, efficacy, and specificity of hundreds of natural enemies of several dozen invasive pests that were introduced into the United States from South America.
Both the insect and plant collections at SABCL are continuously updated with new specimens collected during field explorations.
We found the highest numbers of fire ants in the area near the water," says Luis Calcaterra, a biologist at SABCL who works closely with the lab's director Juan Briano.
The technology transfer between CMAVE and SABCL has been mutually beneficial.
Now, CMAVE and SABCL scientists are looking to add a new scientific wrinkle--using the phorid fly as a vector for infecting the fire ant population with the microsporidia.