From 5-10 September, academic staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students from FABI attended the 36th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE). This event was co-hosted by FABI, the University of Pretoria and Stellenbosch University, and lead by Proff. Jeremy Allison, Christian Pirk, Francois Roets and Bernard Slippers with the support from Proff. Yusuf Abdullahi Ahmed, Robin Crewe and Baldwin Torto (ICEPE). It was the first time that the event was hosted in/from Africa.

The meeting was a great success with more than 300 people from around the world who attended the conference virtually for the six-day programme. It had two main objectives: 1) bringing the science to South Africa to promote and develop the discipline of chemical ecology on the African continent; and 2) provide a platform for members of the society to interact with each other and their science.

More than 100 oral and 50 poster presentations were presented and organised in 25 different sessions around a common theme “the immense potential of chemical ecology for a more sustainable world”. Lectures from keynote speakers, who received awards for their outstanding contributions in chemical ecology, were given by Dr Tobias Zust, Prof. Stefan Schulz, Prof. Gerhard Gries, Prof. Aleš Svatoš, Prof. John Borden and Prof. Paulo Zarbin. FABIan Dr Josephine Queffelec from FABI chaired these keynote lectures.

In terms of conference contributions, FABI was well represented first in the Eusocial insects session with Proff. Christian Pirk and Yussuf Abdullahi Ahmed who presented their work on Apis mellifera and Braula coeca respectively. In the Insect microbe interaction session Prof. Almuth Hammerbacher talked about a bark-beetle associated with a fungi, where Dineo Mailula (PhD candidate) also explained the catabolism of molecules by Ceratocystidaceae species. Finally in the insect pest management session, FABI PhD candidates Johannes Christoff Joubert and Elisa Pal presented their work on the feeding preference of the eucalyptus snout beetle and the alarm pheromone of the two-spotted stink bug, respectively. 

Many FABIan also presented their work through posters and short talks, including MSc students Rosa Knoppersen and Lente van Zyl and PhD candidate Luki-Marie Scheepers. The poster presentations were moderated by Dr Quentin Guignard of FABI.

This South African hosted edition of the ISCE ended well for FABI with the prize for the best oral presentation being awarded to Elisa Pal from the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) for her work on Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae).