Center for Biological Control

About the Center

The Center for Biological Control was formally established in 1999 as one of the Research Centers within the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) [formerly College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA)]. However, biological control research had been ongoing in CAFS since 1976 with significant contributions being made to the taxonomy of weed biological agents and other areas.

A Unique Partnership

The Center is made up of a unique partnership between Florida A&M University, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Both agencies have placed fulltime faculty to work cooperatively with university faculty.

Mission and Vision

The Mission of the Center is to…. generate, apply and transfer innovative, ecologically based solutions to pest problems affecting agriculture, natural resources, and human health while developing the human capacity for continued future innovation.

During the first five years of operation, the Center has made great progress in training, research and outreach. Faculty resources and portfolio of activities have expanded, providing more opportunities for training and research. The Center is now well positioned to expand and continue delivering positive outcomes by addressing some of the most significant challenges facing the world today and thereby fulfilling its vision of ‘securing food, natural resources, and human health.’

Pressing Challenges in the New Millennium

Events during the first decade of the new millennium brought into sharp focus important issues regarding the security of our food, natural resources and health. Among some of the key issues are: the growing threats from invasive alien species and increasing demand for the production of safe, high quality food using methods that do not impact negatively on the environment.

Growing Threats from Invasive Alien Species: The establishment and proliferation of invasive alien species due to globalization of trade and transport is increasing at an alarming rate. This risk is particularly high in Florida due to the large volume of commodities and passengers passing through the state’s ports. While p revention is the most effective strategy for dealing with these growing threats, it often requires concerted action with trading partners to minimize the risk offshore. Inadvertently, some species will escape and become established requiring mitigation efforts. In many such situations, biological control is often the method of choice.

Demand for Safe Food and Environmental Stewardship: Concerns about the negative impacts of food production methods, especially the use of agro-chemicals on human and environmental health, have fueled demands for the development of appropriate pest management technologies. Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies which are strongly underpinned by biologically based technologies, such as biological control, are urgently required.

Goals and Objectives

The long-term goal of the Center for Biological Control is to become nationally recognized for ecologically-based pest management which will be defined by, excellence through quality, and effectiveness in research, training and outreach. The Center will be characterized by truly collaborative partnerships, with strong linkages and support by the various stakeholders.

The Center’s activities will be focused around four key objectives as follows:

  1. To generate and apply knowledge with a particular focus on invasive alien species and development of ecologically based management of pests in agro-ecosystems.
  2. To develop human capacity for continued future innovation, through undergraduate, graduate and specialist training and internships.
  3. To implement innovative knowledge transfer and public outreach efforts, ensuring that solutions generated by the Center impact on the targeted end users.
  4. To ensure operational effectiveness and growth of the Center.agriculture, food and engineering technology to benefit the citizens of Florida, the nation and the world. The program goals are:

 

Faculty & Staff

 

  • Lambert Kanga, Ph.D., Interim Director
  • Jesusa Legaspi, Ph.D., Co-Director
  • Charles O'Brien, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus)
  • R. Wills Flowers, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus)
  • Muhammad Haseeb, Ph.D., Entomologist
  • Stephen Hight, Ph.D. Entomologist
  • Raymond Hiix, Ph.D., Associate Professor

 

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