The Society of American Florists (SAF) will present its Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education to Lance Osborne, professor of entomology/nematology at the University of Florida during its annual convention in Phoenix this week.
Active in teaching and research on managing insects in ornamental and vegetable crops, Osborne has advanced new biological control methods in greenhouses and nurseries and worked with growers to help them adopt those new methods. He is known for pioneer work using banker plants as a source for insect predators, which are becoming an important tool in growers’ efforts to control insects in an environmentally friendly way.
“Lance is a seeker of the truth rather than a seeker of the limelight,” says 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 that you would want on any team of scientists aiming to stop the advance of a new pest threat.”
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.
“Lance has a unique ability to interpret technical findings in the context of the challenges that we often face in addressing invasive pests of regulatory significance,” says David Kaplan of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “He has routinely made himself available to assist us and consistently demonstrates a strong commitment to providing reliable, clear answers. Further, he is revered for his work ethic and dedication to biological control.”
Osborne cochaired the technical committees for two national task forces established by USDA to organize a unified, industry scientific community and government response to two new invasive insects: Bemisia Q-Biotype whiteflies and the Chilli Thrips. His leadership and expertise have been invaluable in preventing those new pests from becoming emergencies for U.S. agriculture.
Established in 1948, SAF’s Alex Laurie Award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to research and education in the floriculture industry. The award is named for Professor Alex Laurie of The Ohio State University, whose career spanned more than 60 years and laid the groundwork for research that revolutionized the floriculture industry.