Two experts from the University of Goettingen in Germany and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Asia in Vietnam were the speakers during BIOTROP’s Quarterly Public Seminars held in September 2015 at the Centre’s headquarter in Bogor . They were Prof Dr Holger Kreft and Dr Kris Wyckhuys, respectively.
Prof Dr Holger Kreft discussed about “Global Patterns of Plant Biodiversity” on 10 September 2015. He shared his experiences on his current research on tropical plant diversity and how it is affected by land-use change and on the factors and processes that cause global gradients in diversity.
Prof Kreft is among the Principal Investigators in the collaborative German-Indonesian research project on Ecological and Socio-economic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation System Centre (EFForTS), under the Collaborative Research Center (CRC 990). CRC 990 is a research cooperation project between the University of Goettingen and three Indonesian universities, namely: the University of Jambi (UNJA), Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) and University of Tadulako (UNTAD). He is the Head of the Biodiversity, Macroecology and Conservation Biogeography Group and has a keen interest in plant diversity from local to global scales.
Dr Kris Wyckhuys’ seminar topic was on “Making Optimal Use of Biodiversity to Hamper the Spread and Impacts of Invasive Pests” held on 25 September 2015. His presentation focused on the major pests and diseases, particularly Phenacoccus manihoti, that affect cassava in Southeast Asia. This pest, which is originally found in Thailand, has now become a great concern in the region as it has already invaded cassava plantations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Dr Wyckhuys has worked on insect biological control and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in a wide range of cropping systems such as maize in Central America, cotton in China, and horticultural crops in Colombia. He is currently CIAT Asia’s Cassava Program Entomologist. He coordinates an 8-nation regional network to tackle fast-spreading invasive pests and diseases of local cassava varieties within an environmentally-sound pest management and landscape level intervention.
BIOTROP’s Quarterly Public Seminar Series was launched in 2013 as one of the Centre’s special initiatives under its 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2012-2017). Since then, it has been attracting an average of 50 participants per seminar consisting of university lecturers and postgraduate students, and scientists from research institutions from Jakarta and Bogor. Other than from Germany and Columbia, the Seminar Series has featured speakers from Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.