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Alan Watson

Alan K. Watson
Director, Biopesticide Research Laboratory
Phone: 514-398-7858
Fax: 514-398-7897
alan [dot] watson [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)

Research interests

Dr Alan Watson and his Weed Research Group have been developing biological weed control strategies using the weed's own natural enemies to control the weed. The goals of Dr Watson's research program are to understand the processes involved in host (weed) pathogen interactions, to investigate mechanisms involved in disease development and weed host response, and to use this knowledge to select, develop, and implement effective, safe, and sustainable means to reduce the negative impact of major noxious weeds in rural, urban, and natural environments. Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) are the major temperate species being studied. A bioherbicde product has been commercialized for control of dandelion and other broadleaved weeds in turfgrass.

Research has gone beyond Canada to Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa to investigate biological methods for less developed nations and subsistence farmers. Significant progress towards effective biocontrol strategies for several rice weeds in Southeast Asia and a possible solution for Striga, the sceourg of African cereal crop have been realized.

Selected Publications

Watson, A.K. and K. Bailey 2013. Taraxacum officinale Weber, Dandelion (Asteraceae). Ch. 58 in Biological Control Programmes in Canada 2001-2012, (eds. Mason P and Gillespie D), CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK, pp. 383-391.

Watson, A.K. and M.S. Teshler 2013. Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., Common Ragweed (Asteraceae) Ch. 43 in Biological Control Programmes in Canada 2001-2012, (eds. Mason P and Gillespie D), CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK, pp. 296-392.

 Watson, A.K. 2013. Biocontrol. Ch. 26 in Parasitic Orobanchaceae - Parasitic Mechanisms and Control Strategies, (eds. Joel, D.M., Gressel, J. and Musselman, L.J.), Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 469-497.

Jinek, A., Simard, M., Brière, S.C., Watson, A.K., Tweddell, R.J., & Rioux, D. 2011. Foliage susceptibility of six eastern Canadian forest tree species to Phytophthora ramorum. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 33(1), 26 – 37

Pan, L., Ash, G.J., Ahn, B. & Watson, A.K. 2010. Development of strain specific molecular markers for the Sclerotinia minor bioherbicide strain IMI 344141, Biocontrol Science & Technology 20(9), 939-959,

Abu-Dieyeh, M.H., Shaheen, I.Y., & Watson, A.K. 2010. Effect of plant age and turfgrass competition on the efficacy of the Sclerotinia minor granular bioherbicide on broadleaf plantain and prostrate knotweed. Biocontrol Science & Technology 20(2), 213-226.

Shaheen, I.Y., Abu-Dieyeh, M.H., Ash, G.J., & Watson, A.K. 2010. Physiological characterization of the dandelion bioherbicide, Sclerotinia minor IMI 344141. Biocontrol Science & Technology 20(1), 57-76.

Venne, J., Beed, F., Avocanh, A. & Watson, A. 2009. Integrating Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. strigae into cereal cropping systems in Africa. Pest Management Science 65(5): 572-580.

Abu-Dieyeh, M.H. & Watson, A.K. 2009. Increasing the efficacy and extending the effective application period of a granular turf bioherbicide by covering with jute fabric. Weed Technology 23(4):524-530.

Abu-Dieyeh, M.H. & Watson, A.K. 2007. Grass over-seeding and a fungus combine to control Taraxacum officinale. Journal of Applied Ecology 44(1):115–124.

Abu-Dieyeh, M.H. & Watson, A.K. 2007. Efficacy of Sclerotinia minor for dandelion control: effect of dandelion accession, age and grass competition. Weed Research 47(1):63-72.

Abu-Dieyeh, M.H. & Watson, A.K. 2006. Effect of turfgrass mowing height on biocontrol of dandelion with Sclerotinia minor. Biocontrol Science & Technology 16 (5):509-524.

Dauch, A.L., A.K. Watson, P. Seguin, and S.H. Jabaji-Hare. 2006. Real-time PCR quantification of Colletotrichum coccodes DNA in bioherbicide release field soils with normalization for PCR inhibition. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 28(1):42-51.