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Madison Olson began her graduate studies in Fall Term 2014 with Peter McEvoy in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Through her research she aims to characterize the ecological risk of an introduced biological control agent, Tyria jacobaeae (cinnabar moth), on a non-target native plant, Senecio triangularis (arrowleaf groundsel). To assess the ecological risk associated with the cinnabar moth, she will address the following research questions:

  1. How sensitive is S. triangularis to herbivory by cinnabar moth larvae?
  2. What is the exposure of S. triangularis to cinnabar moth larvae?
  3. What biological factors might mitigate risk of S. triangularis to cinnabar moth larvae?

The proposed study will address a gap in understanding population level non-target effects of biological control by quantifying and documenting one such case in montane environments in Oregon. The results of this research will provide further insight into the risks and benefits of biological control to better inform decisions by the public, managers, and policy makers.