Sunday Ekesi is an Entomologist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Nairobi, Kenya. He Heads the Plant Health Division of the Centre and a member of the Senior Management Committee. Sunday is a professional scientist, research leader and manager with extensive knowledge and experience in sustainable agriculture (microbial control, biological control, habitat management/conservation, managing pesticide use, IPM) and biodiversity in Africa and internationally. Sunday has been leading a continent-wide initiative on African Fruit Flies that threatens production and export of fruits and vegetables. The initiative is being conducted in close collaboration with IITA, University of Bremen, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology together with NARS, private sectors and ARI partners in Africa, Asia, Europe and the USA and focuses on the development of IPM strategy that encompasses baiting and male annihilation techniques, classical biological control, use of biopesticides, ant technology, field sanitation, and postharvest treatment for quarantine fruit flies. The aim is to develop a cost effective and sustainable technology for control of fruit flies on the African continent that is compliant with standards for export markets while also meeting the requirements of domestic urban markets. Sunday has a broad perspectives of global agricultural research and development issues, with first hand experiences of challenges and opportunities in working with smallholder farmers, extension agents, research organizations and the private sector to improve food and nutritional security. Lately, he has been involved in the utilization of insects as food and alternative sources of protein in animal feed. He sits in various international advisory and consultancy panels for the FAO, IAEA, WB, and regional and national projects on fruit fly, arthropod pest and climate change related issues. Sunday was recently elected as a Fellow of the African Academy of Science (FAAS) in recognition of his contribution to improving agriculture on the African continent.
Aruna Manrakhan is a research entomologist and a co-ordinator of the fruit fly programme at Citrus Research International, South Africa. Aruna Manrakhan received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mauritius and her Master’s degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, London. Soon after her Master’s degree in 1996, Aruna started working on fruit flies under the Indian Ocean Regional Fruit Fly Programme which was led by Professor John Mumford Imperial College. In 2000, Aruna Manrakhan joined ICIPE, Kenya, and did her PhD on fruit fly feeding behaviour under the supervision of Dr Slawomir Lux and under the “African Fruit Fly Initiative”, now “African Fruit Fly Programme”. After obtaining her PhD, Aruna Manrakhan continued to work mostly on fruit flies. In 2006, Aruna did her post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr Pia Addison, at Stellenbosch University. Her post-doctoral studies focussed on the ecology and management of Ceratitis capitata and Ceratitis rosa. Aruna’s current research activities are on the behaviour, monitoring and control of fruit fly pests which affect the citrus industry of Southern Africa. Aruna has also been involved in the South African national surveillance and eradication programme targeting Bactrocera dorsalis. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed entomology journals.
Nikos T. Papadopoulos
Dr. Nikos T. Papadopoulos, Professor of Applied Entomology, leads the laboratory of Entomology and Agricultural Zoology at the University of Thessaly. He obtained his PhD in 1999 (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), did postdoctoral work (2001-2003) at the University of California Davis, and joined the University of Thessaly in 2004. Papadopoulos’ lab is active in the field of life history evolution, insect ecology, behavior and management with special emphasis on fruit flies of the family Tephritidae, and fruit fly invasion biology. A substantial part of his recent research regards the management of fruit flies, using environmental friendly tactics such as the Sterile Insect release. Dr Papadopoulos has published more than 90 papers in high-impact international peer-reviewed scientific journals (e.g. Aging Cell, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the Royal Society London, Oecologia, Mechanisms of Aging and Development, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Journal of Insect Physiology etc.) and his papers have received more than 1400 citations and an H-index=22. He has communicated more than 150 papers in national and international workshops and conferences. He has been co-ordinating and/or participating in more than 20 National, and International research projects funded among others by the National Institute on Aging (USA), and the FAO/IAEA. He served as the Chair of the scientific group TEAM (Tephritid workers of Europe, Africa and the Middle east) from 2004 to 2012. He was/is the supervisor of 6 Ph.D. theses and 15 MSc theses. He is associate editor of the journal “PLOS ONE”, “Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution” and “Current Research Journal of Biological Sciences”, member of the editorial board of “Entomologia Hellenica”, guest Editor of the Journal of Applied Entomology and Psyche, and acts as a regular reviewer for more than 45 international peer-reviewed journals. He has been a reviewer of National and International research proposals. He is a Member of 4 national and International Scientific Associations and member of the organizing and scientific committee of many international conferences, symposia and workshops. He acts as an expert consultant in international organizations such as Joint Division of FAO/IAEA (Food and Agriculture Organization and International Atomic Energy Agency) and NICCOD. He is the director of the graduate program in the Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment at University of Thessaly since 2012.
David M. Richardson
Professor David Richardson is Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology and is based at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
After obtaining his BSc in Forestry and Nature Conservation from Stellenbosch University, Dave completed his MSc and PhD in Botany at the University of Cape Town while working as a Researcher at the SA Forestry Research Institute and the CSIR Division of Forest Science and Technology. He then served as Chief Research Officer and Deputy Director of the Institute for Plant Conservation at the University of Cape Town. In 2001 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 2004 he has been Professor of Ecology in the Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University. In 2014 he was promoted to Distinguished Professor.
Richardson’s research focuses mainly on the ecology of biological invasions and the dynamics of plant invasions, especially trees. His work has centred on invasive species in southern Africa as well as in other parts of the world, and on global patterns and trends in biological invasions.
He is author/co-author of 347 articles in refereed journals, including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Trends in Ecology and Evolution and Ecology Letters, and has written numerous book chapters and edited five books, including Fifty years of invasion ecology (Wiley Blackwell, Oxford; 2011). He was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Diversity and Distributions between 1998 and 2015 and serves on the editorial boards of five other journals and two book series. Twenty-one Masters and 12 doctoral students have graduated under his supervision.
Prof. Richardson won the Hans Sigrist Prize from the University of Berne, Switzerland, in 2006. He was recipient of the 2009 National Science and Technology Forum Award (Category B), the 2012 John FW Herschel Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa, and the 2013 Havenga Prize for Life Sciences from the South African Academy for Science and Art. Since 2013 he has been listed as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson Reuters. He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, and currently serves as Vice President of the latter.
Joyene Isaacs obtained a B Sc. degree with Plant Protection and Plant Pathology as majors from the University of the Western Cape and continued with a BSc Honours in Plant Pathology in 1986. After graduating she worked for two different NGOS in agricultural development from 1991-1996. In 1996 she joined the Agricultural Research Council at INFRUITEC as a centre co-ordinator for the resource-limited farmers’ programme. She managed a team that worked with resource-limited farmers to develop effective linkages with all role players to ensure an appropriate research agenda for fruit production and processing systems for the emerging sector in South Africa. In 1998 she was appointed as the assistant-director of the Resource-limited Producers’ Programme, being responsible for both the Infruitec and Nietvoorbij campuses. In 2002 she took up the role of Director of Farmer Settlement at the Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Government and in 2004 she became the Chief Director: Farmer Support and Development. Her key roles were the development of the emerging sector through land reform, infrastructure development, farm worker development, food security initiatives, capacity building of grass roots farming organisations, ensuring equity (internally and externally) and building innovative and strong partnerships. The programme grew substantially under her leadership increasing the budget with 1000% and the staff from seven to 180. Currently she is the Head of Department for the Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape Government which she was appointed to in 2006 after functioning as the Acting Head for a few months. In this role she is responsible for managing 7 programmes related to agricultural development and 800 staff members. Joyene has published and presented many publications ranging from scientific to development papers and attended many conferences, seminars and workshops where she also facilitated and chaired different sessions. She currently serves as the chair to a variety of organisations including: President of the Southern and Eastern African Association for Farming Systems Research and Extension (14 African countries) and Wine Industry Transformation Committee