Dr Mesfin Gossa
Zoology and Entomology
- SANBI funded Sentinel Plant Project in botanical gardens in South Africa
- Autumn Graduation Honours For FABI
- Eucalyptus Insect Pests in Africa
- FABIans Attend International Entomological Congress (ICE) In Orlando, USA
- FABIans Attend The 2017 Combined Congress Of The Entomological And Zoological Societies Of Southern Africa
- FABIans Celebrate PhD Degree With Mesfin Gossa And His Family
- Monitoring Plant Health In Botanic Gardens And Arboreta Across South Africa
- TPCP Publication Celebration
I obtained B.Sc. in Agriculture (Plant Sciences) from Alemaya University, Ethiopia and worked as a junior and assistant researcher for the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization (EARO). I did my M.Sc. in Insect Sciences at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. My thesis research was focused on evaluating the insecticidal activity of crude extracts from seeds and leaves of neem tree against African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera. I then worked for Arba Minch University and Haramaya University as a lecturer where I taught entomology and crop protection courses to undergraduate cohorts. I also obtained M.Sc. in Nematology from Ghent University, Belgium. In my thesis research, I investigated the interaction between root-feeding plant-parasitic nematodes and shoot feeding aphids in a black mustard plant. I obtained Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Pretoria where I studied the species identity, genetic diversity, natural enemies and host utilization patterns of an invasive pine weevil in South Africa.
I studied eucalypt insect pests and their natural enemies as part of my postdoctoral research. Despite its significant socio-economic role, Eucalyptus production is heavily challenged by non-native and locally adapted insect pests throughout its introduced range. This includes many eucalypt-feeding insects that have been recently introduced in sub-Saharan Africa and pose a serious threat to the sustainability of Eucalyptus forestry in the region. To mitigate this, we developed Eucalyptus Insect Pest Project in Africa (EIPPA). In this project, we investigated the presence, distribution, prevalence, genetic diversity and host utilization patterns of eucalypt insect pests and their natural enemies in sub-Saharan Africa. This was a collaborative project which involved various stakeholders across sub-Saharan Africa. Results from this project will be useful to inform management strategies of eucalypt insect pest in the region.
My current research focuses on monitoring plant health in sentinel sites such as botanic gardens and arboreta across South Africa. This is a SANBI Biological Invasion Directorate (SANBI BID) funded postdoctoral research project. The project was initiated in 2016 under the frame work of the International Plant Sentinel Network IPSN (www.plantsentinel.org) to improve surveillance and identification of new and emerging pest risks in South Africa. Besides using botanic gardens and arboreta as an early warning system to identify new pest and pathogen threats, the project aims at identifying pre-existing plant health issues. It also works towards building capacity of garden staff in monitoring, detection and management of pests and diseases. It is a collaborative project which involves various stakeholders, including SANBI, FABI, International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN), horticulturalists and arborists from various botanic gardens and some international scientists in the field of plant health.
- PhD in Entomology, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, South Africa. Thesis title: Ecology and diversity of introduced Pissodes (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in South Africa
- MSc in Nematology, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Belgium. Thesis title: Effects of root-feeding nematodes on shoot herbivorous insects
- MSc in Insect Sciences, Department of Biology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Thesis title: Effects of neem extracts on the feeding, survival, longevity and fecundity of African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
- BSc in Plant Sciences, Department of Plant Sciences, Alemaya University, Ethiopia. Senior project: Diversity and spatial structure of home-garden plant species in Alemaya district, Ethiopia
- General Entomology, Department of Biology, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia (2017)
- Applied Entomology, Department of Applied Biology, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia (2017)
- Applied Climatology and Agrometeorology, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2008-2010)
- Management of Crop Pests and Diseases of Economic Importance, School of Plant Sciences and Department of Crop Production and Protection, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2008-2010)
- Weeds and their Management, Harar Agro-technical College, Ethiopia (2009)
Postgraduate (MSc) course
- Agricultural Nematology, School of Plant Sciences, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2012)
South Africa’s iconic silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum) are listed as Endangered (EN) in the Red List of South African Plants.
During the week of 9 November, a FABI team including Prof. Mike Wingfield, Prof. Brenda Wingfield, Dr Trudy Paap, Dr Mesfin Gossa and Dr Hiroyuki Suzuki visited botanical gardens in the Western Cape Province.
It has been just over four years since the SANBI-funded postdoctoral project ‘Monitoring plant health in sentinel sites: botanical gardens and arboreta’ started.
In 2017, a collaborative project was developed with the aim of understanding the distribution and genetic diversity of Eucalyptus insect pests and their natural enemies in sub-Saharan Africa.
The 21st Congress of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) with the theme “Innovative Entomology” was held in Umhlanga in the KwaZulu-Natal Province from 8-11 July.
FABI postdoctoral research Fellow Dr Mesfin Gossa recently visited MIRO Forestry Company in Ghana and Sierra Leone, as part of the Eucalyptus Insect Pest Project in Africa (EIPPA). This project is led by Proff Brett Hurley, Bernard Slippers and Dr Gossa, and currently covers over 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Gerda Fourie, research leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) and Dr Mesfin Gossa, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) attended an Insect Mass-Rearing Workshop held from 23-27 October at Stellenbosch University.
My Journal Articles
|Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Nambazimana A, Kayumba I, Nibouche S, van der Lingen S, Asfaw BA, Jenya H, Mutitu EK, Makowe IA, Chungu D, Kiwuso P, Kulimush E, Razafindrakotomamonjy A, Bosu PP, Sookar P, Hurley BP. (2020) Distribution and genetic diversity of five invasive pests of Eucalyptus in sub-Saharan Africa. Biological Invasions 22:2205–2221.
|Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Hurley BP, Garnas J. (2019) Local antagonism and resource partitioning between two invasive pine plantation pests. Agricultural and Forest Entomology
|Nicole M. Van Dam, Mesfin Wondafrash, Vartika Mathur , Tom O. Tytgat. (2018) Differences in hormonal signaling triggered by two root-feeding nematode species result in contrasting effects on aphid population growth. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6(88)
|Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Hurley BP. (2017) Parasitoid assemblage associated with a North American pine weevil in South Africa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology
|Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Roux G, Foit J, Langor DW, Hurley BP. (2016) Identification and genetic diversity of two invasive Pissodes spp. Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in their introduced range in the southern hemisphere. Biological Invasions 18:2283.
|Abebe E, Mekete T, Seid A, Meressa BH, Wondafrash M, Addis T, Getaneh G, Abate BA. (2015) Research on plant-parasitic and entomopathogenic nematodes in Ethiopia: a review of current state and future direction. Nematology 17(7):741-759.
|Wondafrash M, Van Dam NM, Tytgat TOG. (2013) Plant systemic induced responses mediate interactions between root parasitic nematodes and aboveground herbivorous insects.. Frontiers in Plant Sciences 4:87.
|Wondafrash M, Getu E, Terefe G. (2012) Survival and Feeding of African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) affected by Neem, Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) Extracts. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences 8(3):280-285.
|Wondafrash M, Getu E, Terefe G. (2012) Neem, Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) Extracts Negatively Influenced Growth and Development of African Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Academic Journal of Entomology 5(1):22-27.
|Wondafrash M, Getu E, Terefe G. (2012) Life-cycle Parameters of African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) affected by Neem, Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) Extracts. Agricultural Science Research Journal 2(6):335-345.