Texas Invasive Species Institute

Texas Invasive Species Institute

Christopher M. Ritzi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Sul Ross State University
Department of Biological Science
Email: critzi@sulross.edu

Research Interest

An area of research focus I have been involved with since 2006 is in the biological control of saltcedar (Tamarisk sp.) along the Rio Grande.  I have been working with Texas AgriLife, USDA-ARS, and the Rio Grande Institute to establish and monitor beetle activity and movement from the western edge of Big Bend National Park north along the river to Candelaria.  The species of beetle we have had the most success with and are currently monitoring is Diorhabda sublineata, which is original from Tunisia, as well as limited establishment of Diorhabda elongate, a sister taxa originally from Crete. Currently, the beetles are defoliating and trying to control over 90 river miles of the Rio Grande, as well as several miles extending south along the Rio Conchos in Mexico.  To learn more about this project, please visit my project page about tamarisk biological control at:

http://www.sulross.edu/page/1888/tamarisk-biocontrol-saltcedar-beetle-project

Another area of research focus I work on is that of mammalian ectoparasites, in particular mites.  Given that so little is know about these groups, new species are still be collected and identified at this time.  Besides taxonomy, I am studying the ecology and host-parasitic relationships formed by mites, tick, fleas, and other ectoparasites with their selected hosts. Combining this information with an influx of invasive hosts, we are seeing novel ectoparasitic communities beginning to form. The long term impact this will have on all hosts involved is one of the principle areas my research wishes to address.

Christopher M. Ritzi, Ph.D.

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