Insights in alternative management of insect pests in Lebanon amid climate change and globalization by Dr. Nabil-Nemer

Dr. Nabil Nemer, Associate Dean & Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), visited FAFS (December 11), delivering the lecture: Insights in alternative management of insect pests in Lebanon amid climate change and globalization. During the lecture​, Dr. Nemer addressed new insect management research and techniques for combatting  insect pest outbreaks in Lebanon, noting that climate change and globalization are considered among the most important drivers for pest resurgence. 

Abstract:

As the climate warms, crop losses will increase su​bstantially, particularly in temperate regions like Lebanon. New research shows that during the last 30 years, Lebanon witnessed the introduction of many insect pests, of which we cite the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta, the western conifer seed bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, new fruit flies species, and new woodborers. Classical chemical control often fails to remedy the situation: the search for alternative control methods is crucial for effective management. Prospection in local strains of entomopathogen was conducted; the genomic identification and genetic profiling of these strains is under way using novel technologies like real-time PCR and droplet digital PCR in addition to Next generation sequencing. Studies on the identification of sex and aggregation pheromones are being carried out. To control certain pests, artificial intelligence is used in newly developed spraying techniques.  Another important step for the manufacture of bioactive natural products is the extraction of phytochemicals from plant matrices, developed for some endemic plant species using response surface methodology. The outcomes of these studies using novel technologies will provide new insights in the management of insect pests in Lebanon.

About the Speaker: 

Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Nabil Nemer has coordinated and managed a number of large-scale projects funded by the French Agency for Development (AFD), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GIZ), and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). He has also participated in many local research-focused projects funded by CEDRE, UNESCO, CNRS, DAAD and actively teaches in several universities, including AUB, USJ and Cottbus University, Germany.

Nabil obtained his Ph.D. from University Paris XI and his M.Sc. in Plant Protection (Entomology) from the American University of Beirut. His research interests are in chemical communication systems, including sex pheromone systems of insects, studies of plant-insect interactions, and studies on biological control, integrated pest management of insect pest, forest ecology and pesticide residues. He has authored 27 peer reviewed publications and participated in many conferences on entomology, higher education, and accreditation around the world.

Dr. Nemer is a member of the ABET Accreditation Committee at USEK. He has served on the Nature Reserves Committees in Lebanon and on agriculture-related Ministerial committees since 1999. He has consulted on FAO projects related to insects and with many NGOs both within and outside of Lebanon. His work on the Cedars of Lebanon, particularly the discovery of new insects attacking the cedars and pines and the effect of climate change on insect outbreaks is recognized nationally and internationally.​