- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's what moderator Michael Klein, The Ohio State University, said when he introduced Harry K. Kaya, emeritus professor of entomology and nematology, at a special seminar in his honor at the 2011 Entomological Society of America meeting.
The seminar, "Entomopathogenic Nematodes: Their Biology, Ecology, and Application. A Tribute to the Dynamic Career of Harry K. Kaya," took place Nov. 15 at the ESA's 59th annual meeting, held in the Reno/Sparks Convention Center.
Organizing the event were Lynn LeBeck, executive director, Association of Natural Bio-Control Producers (ANBP), Clovis; Ed Lewis, professor of entomology and nematology and acting chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology; and David Shapiro-Ilan, research entomologist, USDA's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).
Michael Klein, adjunct associate professor at The Ohio State University, moderated the seminar. Kaya worked on international research projects with Klein, who recently retired from the Horticultural Insects Research Laboratory, part of the USDA/ARS Application Technology Research Unit, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio
LeBeck echoed the feelings of the attendees when she praised Kaya as a top-notch researcher and as "a warm human being." She recalled the "many years of fun times and great research experiences with him."
LeBeck was one of dozens of people paying tribute to him and/or presenting a lecture at the special seminar.
Internationally recognized for his contributions to insect pathology and insect nematology, Kaya specialized in the utilizations of nematodes for biological control of insect pests; interaction between nematodes and other biological control agents; and general insect pathology (protozoan, viral and fungal diseases of insects).
One of the founders of the journal Biological Control, Kaya is a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (2007) and the co-editor of the first and second editions of Field Manual of Techniques in Invertebrate Pathology, Application and Evaluation of Pathogens for Control of Insects and other Invertebrate Pests.
Scientists billed on the tribute program were:
Parwinder Grewal and Ruisheng An, The Ohio State University, "Cooperative Endurance and Pathogenesis: a Story of the Nematode and Bacteria Partnership"
Don Strong, UC Davis"Top Down Islands in a Bottom-Up Foodweb Sea: Native EPNs and Rootfeeders of Lupine"
Mary Barbercheck, Pennsylvania State University, "Hunter and Hunted: Entomopathogenic Nematodes in the Soil Food Web"
Larry W. Duncan, University of Florida, "Ecology and Conservation of Entomopathogenic Nematodes in Florida Citrus Groves"
Davis Shapiro-Ilan, USDA-ARS and Edwin Lewis, UC Davis, "Putting the Worms to Work: Application Technology for Entomopathogenic Nematodes"
James F. Campbell, USDA-ARS, Edwin Lewis of UC Davis and David Shapiro-Ilan, USDA-ARS, "Entomopathogenic Nematode Infection Behavior: from Mechanism to Adaptive Value"
Ho Yul Choo, Southern Forest Research Center, "Practical Use of Entomopathogenic Nematodes against Greenhouse Insect Pests"
Ramon Georgis, Brandt, "Commercialization of Entomopathogenic Nematodes: an Industry Perspective."
Kaya later said he was overwhelmed the outpouring. He sent the following note to the organizers: "I thank the organizers, Drs. Lynn LeBeck, Michael Parrella, Michael Klein, Ed Lewis, and David Shapiro-Ilan, for putting together this special symposium for me. I know it took a lot of effort in organizing the symposium, inviting speakers, and having a reception afterwards. I appreciate their efforts very much. I must say, however, that the speakers gave me too much credit when it was my students, post-doc, visiting scientists and collaborators who did the research and often came up with the research ideas and concepts. I was most privileged in having such dedicated students, researchers, friends, and colleagues around me and always having the great support of the department."
Harry K. Kaya
Kaya received B.S. and M.S. degrees in entomology from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in insect pathology from the University of California, Berkeley. He worked briefly as an entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (New Haven) before accepting a professorial position in the Department of Nematology and Department of Entomology at the University of California, Davis in 1976.
He served as chair of the Department of Nematology from 1994-2001, and was treasurer (1992-1996), vice president (2000-2002) and president (2002-2004) of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology (SIP). He is especially proud of his students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting international scientists, who have excelled in entomology, insect pathology or nematology.
He is one of the founding editors of the journal Biological Control, and is currently Editor-in-Chief. Dr. Kaya has received a number of awards from ESA, SIP, and the Society of Nematologists. (From the Entomological Society of America website on his selection as an ESA Fellow, updated October 2007)