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PROPOSED PROGRAM SYMPOSIUM AND STUDENT DEBATE TOPIC

 

FOR THE 2002 MEETING OF THE ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

NOVEMBER 17-20 2002, FORT LAUDERDALE FLORIDA

 

Organized with the cooperation of the International Society for Plant Pathology

 

Biosafety AND BIOTERRORISM:

ASSESSING THE THREAT TO AGRICULTURE FROM BIOLOGICAL AGENTS

 

 

1.  Co-Organizers’ Information

 

Ernest S. Delfosse

Past-Chair, Section C

USDA-ARS-National Program Staff

5601 Sunnyside Avenue

Building 4, Room 4-2238

Beltsville, MD  20705-5139

 

Telephone:  301-504-6470

Facsimile:  301-504-6191

E-mail:  esd@ars.usda.gov

Dr. Peter R. Scott

President, International Society for Plant Pathology

Director, Programme Development

CAB International

Wallingford, Oxon OX108DE  UK

 

Telephone:  44-1-491-832-111

Facsimile:  44-1-491-833-508

E-mail:  p.scott@cabi.org

 

 

 

Concept:  Following the terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 and subsequent anthrax exposures, there is increasing global awareness of the need for heightened biological safety.  One of the key areas of concern is protection of the food and fibre supply from deliberate introduction of invasive arthropods and pathogens. 

We propose a Program Symposium with five unique aspects.  First, biosafety has never been dealt with by ESA.  Second, the Symposium will address arthropods and plant pathogens, the key taxa that have the greatest potential as biological agents against agricultural production and valuable native plants, with clear implications for food security and invasive species management.  The Symposium will also show the relationships among many arthropods and plant pathogens.  Third, this will be a cross-discipline Symposium, in line with the 2002 “integrated science” thrust, with the co-organizers representing two main scientific societies involved in the disciplines of entomology and plant pathology.  Fourth, this Symposium will highlight the important but underutilized role that scientific societies can and should have in informing decision-makers of the science affecting important societal issues.  Fifth, we propose that a student debate on the Symposium topic (see below) should follow immediately from the Symposium.  A limited-access Internet group will be set up before the meeting to facilitate information exchange among students.

We will ask the participants to provide papers based on their presentations, which when published (e.g., in the Thomas Say series), will provide valuable guidance to decision-makers in government, and will raise the awareness of this key issue among scientists.  The publication could subsequently be developed as a White Paper from ESA.

The presentations will include:  (1) a key government official to set the scene; (2) identification of the key need of filling research gaps in systematics of groups containing potential biological agents; (3) discussing the steps that must be taken to put in place standard operating procedures to exclude potential arthropod and pathogen biological agents, proactively prepare for early detection and eradication of deliberately introduced biological agents, and to develop integrated procedures for long-term management of species that become established; and (4) placing the information in a risk analysis context.  An open discussion with members of the audience would conclude the symposium.  A student debate on this subject will follow the symposium(see below).

Finally, as part of this collaboration, we will establish an on-line debate on biosafety in collaboration with the American Phytopathological Society (a member society of the International Society for Plant Pathology).  This debate will be open for one month prior to the annual meeting.  APS has a long history in this type of activity, and could host the debate.  This on-line activity will provide very useful input to the Symposium and the student debate.


PART 1.  THE SYMPOSIUM

 

8:00 am

Welcome and Introduction (Co-organizers)

 

 

 

8:15 am

Overview of threats to biosafety posed by arthropods and pathogens.

Governor Tom Ridge, Director of the Office of Homeland Security (Invited)

 

 

 

 

8:45 am

Research gaps in systematics of potential arthropod biological agents.

Michael E. Schauff, USDA-ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Washington, DC (Confirmed)

 

 

 

 

9:15 am

Research gaps in systematics of potential pathogen biological agents.

Amy Y. Rossman, Research Leader, USDA-ARS Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD (Confirmed)

 

 

 

 

9:45 am

What are the other gaps in the American safety net?

Rick Dunkle, Deputy Administrator, USDA-APHIS (Confirmed).

 

 

 

 

10:15 am

Deliberate or accidental?  A proactive or reactive response?  What do we need to do to prepare for new introductions of biological agents?

Ian McDonell, Executive Director, North American Plant Protection Organization (Invited)

 

 

 

 

10:45 am

Break

 

 

 

 

11:00 am

Risk analysis of biological agents that could be used to disrupt food and fibre production.

Ernest S. Delfosse, USDA-National Program Staff, Beltsville, MD (Confirmed)

 

 

 

 

11:30 am

Facilitated discussion with audience

 

 

 

 

12:00 pm

Summary and conclusions (co-organizers)

 

 

 

PART 2.  STUDENT DEBATE:  A NEW FORMAT FOR A NEW TOPIC

 

 

 

1:00-1:45 pm

Debate topic:  “Can we be prepared for deliberate release of biological agents against agriculture?” 

 

 

 

 

 

1:45-2:30 pm

Facilitated discussion (audience)

 

 

 

This debate will really challenge students to think logically and present cogent arguments on a very difficult social issue.  We will not use the standard setup of pro and con sides debated by placing one university department against another.  Rather, two teams of four students each will be made up of one representative from each of four departments of entomology and four departments of plant pathology (thus two entomology students and two plant pathology students on each team, from a total of eight different departments).  In preparation for the debate, a restricted-participation internet group site will be established, at which information relevant to the debate will be exchanged.

 

 

 

 

2.  Name of function/event:  We request that this proposal is considered for a Program Symposium.

3.  Proposed day/date of function:  TBA by ESA; we suggest either Sunday, 17 November or Monday, 18 November.

4.  Start and End time of function:  Symposium, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm; student debate, 1:00-2:30 pm, on the same day as the Symposium.

5.  Estimated number of guests:  Everybody at the meeting (certainly, several hundred).

6.  Room set up:  Standard, with four microphones set up in the audience to take questions and comments.

7.  Audiovisual needs:  Slide, overhead and LCD projectors; electronic pointer; large screen.

8.  Catering needs:  N/A

9.  Do you want this event made public?  Yes