15 September 2017 – More than 130 biological control researchers and practitioners from 25 countries came together on 11-15 September at the world’s flagship conference on the control of arthropods (a type of invertebrate) using parasitoids (an organism that lives on or in a host organism) and predators. Organised by CABI and the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), the International Symposium on the Biological Control of Arthropods (ISBCA) took place in Langkawi, Malaysia. A number of CABI scientists gave presentations at what is the leading event of its kind.
The conference, the fifth in a series of symposia held every four years, presents a unique forum for arthropod biological control researchers and practitioners to meet, exchange information and discuss up-to-date issues relating to biological control. This year’s event focused on the use of parasitoids and predators in the ongoing battle to control certain invasive arthropod species.
Scientific sessions covered perennial topics such as the use of biological control in integrated pest management programmes, and also looked at newly emerging issues of importance, such as the socio-economic impact of biological control, and its uptake in lower and middle-income countries. Many of the topics were interdisciplinary in nature, reflecting new challenges and ways of working.
One of the aims of ISBCA is to stimulate creative solutions for arthropod control by introducing delegates to new information. With this in mind, all presentations at ISBCA 2017 used original project data, and the event showcased findings from postgraduate and postdoctoral students. More than 45 poster presentations were displayed during the event.
Founded by Dr Roy Van Driesche in 2002, previous ISBCA have been held in such diverse places as Hawaii, Switzerland, New Zealand and Chile, in order to encourage meaningful participation from all parts of the world. Holding the 2017 event in Asia for the first time continued this tradition, enabling delegates to develop important links with colleagues from the region who had not been in a position to participate in previous ISBCAs.
“This was a very rewarding event to be a part of,” said Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director for Global Operations who is also a member of the ISBCA scientific committee. “ISBCA continues to attract committed and talented people who want to share their knowledge and make a difference. I am confident that we continue to make good progress in tackling the threats that some invasive arthropods can pose. This work is crucial to help protect our planet’s biodiversity and improve livelihoods, and I am proud of CABI’s involvement in this area.”
The local organising committee for the symposium comprised Dr Loke Wai Hong and Dr A. Sivapragasam from CABI together with Dr Mohamad Roff from MARDI.
The proceedings have been published by CABI as an open access e-book.
ISBCA opening ceremony, pictured from left to right: Dr Mohamad Roff, Deputy Director General of MARDI, Hon. Dato Ir. Nawawi Ahmad, Member of Parliament Malaysia, Dr Ulli Kuhlmann, Global Director, CABI, and Dr A. Sivagragasam, Regional Director SEA, CABI.