AgCanada hires three B.C. scientists

Agriculture Canada has hired three new scientists this year for its research centres in British Columbia:

Soil scientist Aimé Messiga joined the Agassiz Research and Development Centre in May.

He has 15 years of expertise in soil and nutrient management. His research is focused on sustainable nutrient management for annual crops including vegetables, forages, and small fruits.

Messiga obtained his undergraduate degree in agriculture in Cameroon and completed a master’s degree at the University of Ghent in Belgium in 2006. He continued his studies at the University of Laval in Quebec, where he obtained his doctorate. He then completed post-doctoral fellowships in Sainte-Foy (2010-2013) and Beloeil (2013).

He most recently worked at Trent University’s School of Environment in Peterborough, Ont.

Messiga is associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science and is a member of the Canadian Society of Soil Science and the Soil Science Society of America.

Entomologist Paul Abram joined the Agassiz RDC in August, bringing with him 11 years of expertise in the ecology and biological control of insect pests.

He obtained his PhD from the University of Montreal after obtaining a master’s degree at Carleton University in Ottawa and an undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

His research has primarily focused on the behavioural ecology of insect parasitoids and its application to biological control. He is a member of the Entomological Society of Canada and the International Organization for Biological Control.

Abram’s research in Agassiz will focus on biological control strategies for spotted wing drosophila, the brown marmorated stink bug and a variety of insect pests of greenhouse vegetable production.

Soil scientist Mehdi Sharifi joined the Summerland research centre in October.

He brings with him more than 15 years of expertise in soil and nutrient management.

Most recently, Sharifi was the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and an assistant professor at Trent University’s School of Environment.

From 2010-12, he served as the Nutrient Management Research Chair and assistant professor at Dalhousie University’s environmental sciences department.

He also did a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Agriculture Canada’s Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, N.B., and a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada in Truro, N.S.

Sharif’s research will focus on sustainable nutrient management for perennial horticultural crops including grapes, apples and cherries. His interests extend to the use and management of cover crops and soil amendments in horticultural crops.

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