University of Florida Professor Wins Prestigious Award

September 18, 2009 - 12:42

The Society of American Florists will present the 2009 Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education on Sept. 24 during SAF’s 125th Annual Convention in Phoenix. This year's winner is to Lance Osborne, Ph.D., professor of entomology/nematology at the University of Florida.

Osborne is active both in teaching and in research on managing insects in ornamental and vegetable crops. In addition to his work on preventing chemical resistance in target pests, Osborne has worked tirelessly to advance biological control methods in greenhouses and nurseries, and in helping growers adopt those new methods. He is known for his work in using banker plants as a source for insect predators, which are becoming an important tool in growers’ efforts to control insects with an eye toward sustainability.

“Lance is a seeker of the truth rather than a seeker of the limelight,” said Margery Daughtrey, senior extension associate with Cornell University’s Department of Plant Pathology. “He is a source of reliable research, extensive knowledge and sound judgment… Other entomologists and plant pathologists invariably speak of Lance with respect — and sometimes with awe.”

As agricultural globalization has accentuated the movement of pests and diseases into new environments, Osborne has been a leader in conducting research on effective control of new invasive insects. He has co-chaired the technical committees for two national task forces established by the USDA to respond to threats from Bemisia Q biotype whiteflies and chilli thrips.

Osborne’s research has been presented at various international conferences and symposia, and he holds patents in the United States, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan on biological controls for whiteflies and other pests with a fungal pathogen. He has contributed five chapters on biological control of pests to texts on pest management, and authored 44 articles published in international refereed journals and more than 100 journal articles, bulletins, circulars and fact sheets. His other contributions include bulletins, publications and websites dedicated to education, identification, cultural recommendations and pest management, and an e-mail list about new and emerging pest problems.

The Alex Laurie Award, established in 1948 to honor the Ohio State University professor who laid the groundwork for research that revolutionized the industry, is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to research and education in the floriculture industry. For more information or to nominate an industry member for this award, visit SAF's website or contact Karen Eppard.

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