Review of the 100th anniversary of the European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL/USDA)

05 April 2019, Agropolis International, Montpellier



They have been involved in EBCL's activities since 1995 The team at the Montpellier (France) and Thessaloniki (Greece) sites


The European Laboratory for Biological Control (EBCL/USDA ARS/Agricultural Research Service - USA), member of Agropolis International, located on the Baillarguet campus (Montferrier-sur-Lez) celebrated its 100th anniversary in the presence of some 100 international guests.

This day was an opportunity to present the history of the laboratory since its creation, the interactions of the establishment with European agencies (research and mentoring partnership), the work in progress and the future prospects of work and partnerships and to visit. After the event, participants took a guided tour of the laboratory, a 19,375 m2 facility located on a 2 hectare site.

Event organized in the presence of Simon Hankinson, Consulate General of the United States (Marseille), Steven Kappes, Associate Administrator of the ARS and Bryan Norrington, Director of the Bureau of International Research Programmes of the ARS,


From left to right:
- Dawn Gundersen-Rindal, Director of EBCL
- Bryan Norrington, Director of the ARS Bureau of International Research Programmes
- Simon Hankinson, Consulate General of the United States (Marseille)
- Chavonda Jacobs-Young, LRA Administrator
- Steven Kappes, Associate Administrator of the ARS
- Kate Snipes, Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs at the US Embassy in Paris

"Invasive weed and insect species have no barriers," said Dawn Gundersen-Rindal, Director of EBCL. "Indigenous parasites from other countries can become American parasites and vice versa, so we all benefit from the formation of strong international partnerships to work together to find biological solutions to problems that can affect us all.

This American laboratory was created by merging the former European pest control laboratory, created in Paris in 1919, with the laboratory dedicated to the study of biological control research established in Rome in 1958.

Located on the Montferrier-Baillarguet campus since 1999, it has collaborated since the beginning with the other scientific members of Agropolis International (INRA, CIRAD, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, CSIRO-Australia) and the regional joint research units dedicated to this issue (CBGP/Centre de Biologie et de Gestion des Populations.)

In Europe, EBCL has a satellite laboratory in Thessaloniki, Greece, in order to facilitate exploration and field studies, including the study of disease vectors (mosquitoes, sandflies, phlebotomines and ticks).


The 2019 EBCL team in front of the Montferrier-Baillarguet campus


EBCL's research work

The work aims to define and assess the natural enemies of invasive pests and weeds that arrive in the United States from abroad. The primary objective of the research is to develop biological control approaches that can be used to regulate or control invasive weeds and insect pests in the United States. This requires searching for natural enemies (insects, mites, etc.) in their native habitat, determining their identity, testing the specificity and potential of their host, impact in laboratory and field experiments, and shipping promising organisms to the United States for further testing as biological control agents. Biological control is an important component of integrated pest management (IPM).

One of the reasons for the creation of the laboratory in 1919 was the discovery of predatory insects or parasites capable of biologically controlling (attacking) the European corn borer, an invasive pest whose arrival in the United States has wreaked havoc on corn and other crops grown by farmers. EBCL's list of biological control targets has since been expanded to include species such as the devil's bug, the bagrada bug, the olive fly and the Asian longhorn beetle. Montpellier broom, Canada thistle, yellow star thistle, ventenata, jellyfish head and cane de Provence are among the invasive weeds targeted.


Update on 24/4/19

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