The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association presented its Researcher of the Year Award last week to Dr. Lukasz Stelinski, associate professor of entomology and nematology at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
Each year this honor is given to deserving individuals who have dedicated themselves and their work to the improvement of Florida agriculture. The presentation took place during FFVA’s 71st annual convention in Naples.
Stelinski has been on the forefront of cutting-edge research aimed at the detection and control of citrus greening and the Asian citrus psyllid. He also is known for developing pheromone therapy for the control of the citrus leafminer, which helps spread citrus canker. Many of the current practices used to control the psyllid and leafminer were initiated because of Stelinksi’s research, the nominators said, although his research isn’t limited to just citrus. His focus on pest control can be applied to all fruits and vegetables affected by insect pressures.
Southern Gardens, the nominating organization, and others who wrote in support, said
Stelinski is committed to translating his findings into information and products that will help Florida producers now and into the future. He was instrumental in developing a low-volume spray application for psyllid management that is estimated will save the citrus industry as much as $40 million a year.
The nominators also cited Stelinksi’s ability to communicate and connect with growers. As such, he is well-respected in both the research and grower community.