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In 2003, a humble cargo pallet set off a 17-year battle that struck at the heart of the Canadian identity. Larvae of the Asian Longhorn Beetle had emerged from their slumber deep inside the cheap timber and found their way into maple trees in Vaughan, Ontario, just a short distance from Toronto, the home of the Maple Leafs.
Dr. Amanda Roe is a researcher in molecular and functional ecology at Natural Resources Canada’s Great Lakes Forestry Centre, and a part-time lecturer at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Dr. Roe lectured on 3 March during Algoma U Research Week 2021 on the work scientists around the world are doing to control the spread of the Asian Longhorn Beetle, a species native to Asia that is a pest in Europe and North America.
Though Asian Longhorn Beetles are seldom seen on the bark of trees, the distinctive holes they make as they burrow through the tree, plus their fairly large size (~35mm) and their speckled body colour makes their presence fairly easy to spot. The beetle populations are also reasonably slow-moving, reproducing only once per year. This allows the relevant authorities – in this case, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Natural Resources Canada – to simply ban firewood movement in the area, identify affected trees, then cut down and burn any nearby tree the beetle might inhabit.
But where, precisely, are these beetles coming from? Molecular ecology makes it possible to go a step farther, and identify the home area that invasive species may have come from. Scientists do this by looking at mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Unlike nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA does not change due to an individual’s parents, but mtDNA does accumulate distinctive variations that can identify members of the same extended family or region.
Scientists have collected an mtDNA database of Asian Longhorn Beetles across their home range in China and Korea, a database that shows distinct geographic variations. So, when the same mtDNA tests are done on a captured beetle from an invasive infestation, the tests can help identify which general region the invader is from. The infestation in Vaughan likely originated from coastal regions of northeastern China or Korea.
Perhaps more importantly, it can help researchers pick up the pieces when initial control measures were ineffective. After the Vaughan invasion had been largely controlled, there was another outbreak of ALB in Mississauga. mtDNA tests showed that the second site was a satellite of the original invasion from Vaughan.
Following a generation-long struggle that concluded with five years of carefully looking through trees in Toronto and Mississauga for any re-emergence of the pest, CFIA finally declared Ontario to be free of the Asian Longhorn Beetle in June 2020. Early detection makes all the difference in preventing future outbreaks of any invasive species, and members of the public can always help by sharing photos and samples of strange insects they find with agricultural extensions, forestry agencies, or research biologists.
Here is a list of recent aviation safety incidents in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northwest Ontario that were reported to the Transportation Safety Board through 15 August 2020:
17 Jul 2020 – C-FHBS gear up landing at Olds-Didsbury AB 17 Jul 2020 – C-GDUK load jettison near Slave Lake AB 18 Jul 2020 – C-GUSD emergency landing near Winnipeg-St.Andrews 21 Jul 2020 – C-FFVS load jettison north of Red Lake ON 21 Jul 2020 – C-FVIY landing gear issue at Lethbridge 21 Jul 2020 – C-GQNS wire strike at Medstead SK 23 Jul 2020 – C-GRGO equipment failure near Calgary 24 Jul 2020 – C-FBRG damaged on landing at Chapleau ON 27 Jul 2020 – C-GEDF damaged on takeoff near Calmar AB 28 Jul 2020 – N370JA, N53134 loss of separation at Fort McMurray 29 Jul 2020 – AMT200 gear up landing at Regina 30 Jul 2020 – Learjet bird strike on takeoff at Thunder Bay 31 Jul 2020 – C-GKGA cowling separation incident at Regina 01 Aug 2020 – C-FSCT damaged on landing near Sault Ste. Marie ON 04 Aug 2020 – C-FCJZ icing incident at Regina 04 Aug 2020 – C-FHZB damaged on landing at Springbank AB 04 Aug 2020 – C-FSPN control issues at Leaf Rapids ON 04 Aug 2020 – C-GKIB damaged on landing at CFR7 (AB) 08 Aug 2020 – C-GQIF fuel spill at Estevan 11 Aug 2020 – C-FAJR hit by drone at Winnipeg-St.Andrews
Here is a list of recent aviation safety incidents in the Dakotas, Iowa, upper and western Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as reported to the Federal Aviation Administration through 14 August 2020:
17 Jul 2020 – N1962N damaged on landing at Osceola WI 20 Jul 2020 – N47T gear up landing at Burlington WI 20 Jul 2020 – N570WH wire strike near Dickeyville WI 21 Jul 2020 – N208MP damaged on landing at Thompson Falls MT 21 Jul 2020 – N2943C damaged on landing at Cambridge MN 25 Jul 2020 – N327WB crashed near Imperial NE 25 Jul 2020 – N502KJ fatal crash near Grant NE 27 Jul 2020 – N9278G emergency landing at Hartington NE 27 Jul 2020 – N53163 fatal crash near Corsica SD 27 Jul 2020 – N570WH collision on landing at Dakota WI 27 Jul 2020 – N771GB emergency landing at Hebron NE 29 Jul 2020 – N22709 emergency landing near Watertown SD 30 Jul 2020 – N4388T emergency landing near Powell WY 30 Jul 2020 – N337V fatal crash in Madison County MT 31 Jul 2020 – N16810 wire strike at Hubbard NE 01 Aug 2020 – N58B emergency landing near Helena 03 Aug 2020 – N45303 downdraft crash near Jackson Hole 03 Aug 2020 – N185GK runway excursion on landing at Kalispell 03 Aug 2020 – N67CD gear up landing at Sioux City 08 Aug 2020 – N5580W runway excursion on landing at Sparta WI 09 Aug 2020 – N89LA crashed near Logan IA 09 Aug 2020 – N6849B crashed in residential area near Burlington WI 10 Aug 2020 – N298WY crashed near Grover WY 12 Aug 2020 – N6299R emergency landing at Mosinee WI
Soyuz launched early Friday with a Russian military payload, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne demonstrated its performance profile Monday in unscheduled water landings, and Florida thunderstorms prevented the launch of Crew Dragon DM-2 on Wednesday.