On Friday, April 8, 2011, University of Rhode Island (URI) Entomologist, Lisa Tewksbury and Carl Sawyer from the department of Plant Sciences at URI came to Pardon Gray Preserve to meet Garry Plunkett and Wayne Browning to collect seed heads from Black Knapweed, an invasive plant which is flourishing at the Preserve.
The seed heads were taken back to URI to be examined for the presence of larvae of an insect which attacks Black Knapweed. The study is in its very early stages, but the hopes are that the insect is present or could be introduced to partially control the spread of this plant. Meanwhile, sections of the field may be used to study different control methods including mowing timed to interrupt seed production. Since the plants also spread through the root system, limited chemical control at different parts of the life cycle of the plant may also be studied.