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Subject Matter Expertise Committees

Subject Matter Expertise committees are volunteer groups with unique expertise in a specific subject area of interest to groups of members. 

Purpose of Sub​​ject Matter Expertise Committees

  • ​To provide community and networking opportunities to scientists working in specific topic areas with a goal of increasing opportunities for scientific collaboration and increasing the value of an individual’s membership through a sense of community. (Strategic Goal A
  • To highlight particular research needs, opportunities and results within the various scientific topics to support APS’ mission.  This may include the development of education offerings for members or external stakeholders to support Strategic Goals A, B and C.
  • To support APS advocacy efforts in providing scientific expertise in specific topic areas that impact public policy decisions and increase the understanding of the impact of climate change. (Strategic ​Goal C​)​

Charges for Subject Matter Expertise Committees

  • Convening a minimum of two virtual meetings of the committee per fiscal year, creating a community where scientists can discuss relevant issues or advances in the committee's subject matter. These meetings may include both community-building opportunities for members to get to know one another, share ideas and potentially collaborate on research projects.
  • Identifying emerging or persistent scientific issues, and developing educational materials such as workshops, webinars, whitepapers, research tools or other project that help to create and/or maintain a growing and competent workforce within the field of the committee's subject matter.
  • ​Serve as subject matter experts to APS advocacy efforts. This entails two-way communication with the APS Public Policy to highlight needs in the scientific community to public policy decision makers, and to serve as a resource to Public Policy in providing comments or expert testimony as needed. The primary mechanism for this two-way exchange is for the Committee to identify a person willing to serve as a Fast Response Team member. This Fast Response Team member will serve a two-year term. ​

Subject Matter Expertise Committee Listings:

  • Bacteriology

    The Bacteriology Committee represents APS members interested in issues related to phytobacteriology, including plant pathogens and other bacterial associations with plants. The committee provides a forum for discussions on current issues, as well as promotes the discipline of phytobacteriology by sponsoring symposia, colloquia, discussions, and workshops at the annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society. By forming ad hoc committees that actively address current issues in bacteriology, the committee provides a mechanism for addressing these issues as well as providing APS leadership, regulators, industry and others analyses based on scientific data.

    The APS Bacteriology Committee ensures the recognition of the critical role plant-associated bacteria play in agriculture and food safety, and the value of supporting phytobacteriology in research, education and extension in the United States and worldwide.

  • Bioengineering Applications

    To examine the impact of genetically modified organisms designed for crop protection on society, the environment, and agriculture; to educate the public on the acceptance of products of biotechnology; and to transfer ready-to-use basic knowledge to crop protection.​

  • Biological Control

    Serves as an active forum for APS members to discuss and address issues, develop ideas, and foster professional collaboration related to research, registration, commercial development, and use of biological control technologies; Promote the use of biopesticides and other biological control strategies where appropriate for safe, sustainable and effective management of plant diseases and improvement of plant health; Provide accurate information about the science, practice, benefits, and realities of biologically based management of plant diseases and nematode pests to the public, policy makers, growers, practitioners, companies, and the scientific community.

  • Collections of Germplasms

    Collections and Germplasm p​romotes and fosters the collection, preservation, improvement, and utilization of U.S. and international resources of microbial and higher-plant germplasm. Identifies issues relevant to germplasm resources. Advocates judicious improvements in collections and germplasm systems and constructively influences policies and procedures, through the agency of the APS Council, by such means as (a) committee proposals, (b) APS publications and discussion sessions, and (c) communications with other scientific societies, governmental agencies, institutions, and industry.​ 

  • ​Crop Loss Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CLARE)

    The Crop Loss and Risk Evaluation Committee (CLARE) of APS consists of participants who are active in research, concept evaluation, policy development or assessment of issues addressing crop loss and risk in plant pathology. This committee provides APS members with the most recent information on these issues through meetings, special sessions, workshops and individual interactions. The mission is to improve crop loss evaluations and estimation procedures on the direct yield as well as indirect cost levels incorporating a multidisciplinary approach to assess disease, yield, quality of the crop in the field.

  • Diagnosticians

    The Diagnosticians Committee represents APS members concerned with plant problem diagnosis, diagnostic techniques and methodologies. Our members include public and private diagnostic labs, consultants, and businesses. Our mission is to encourage networking and discussion among our members, to facilitate learning related to diagnostics and to increase visibility of diagnostics within the profession of plant pathology and APS.

  • Diseases of Ornamental Plants

    The mission of the Diseases of Ornamental Plants Committee is to encourage collaboration among APS members and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information intended to increase our understanding and control of pathogens and diseases affecting ornamental plants.

  • Emerging Diseases and Pathogens

    Provide a forum of discussion and advise for national prevention and preparedness issues related to non-indigenous/indigenous and high consequence plant pathogens introduced advertently (as agro-crime or agro-terrorism) or inadvertently (naturally or accidentally) impacting or potentially impacting US agriculture, natural resources and food systems, among committee members representing the academic, governmental (State and Federal), and industry sectors.

    Liaise with other relevant APS subject matter committees and APS in general including other agency initiatives (such as USDA's National Plant Disease Recovery System, National Plant Diagnostic Network, USDA PPQ Plant Pathogen Select Agents & Toxins, and APHIS import regulations) in sharing and communicating science-based information to secure US agriculture, natural resources and food systems through awareness of emerging disease threats, prevention, detection, diagnosis, epidemiology, response to, and recovery from or managing plant disease threats to agriculture.

    Explore cooperative initiatives in the international plant pathology community that will contribute to global food and natural resources security and trade flow through research, inspections or regulatory actions.

  • Epidemiology

    The mission of the Epidemiology Committee is to foster collaboration within The American Phytopathological Society (APS) on issues regarding all aspects of plant disease epidemiology (e.g., ecological and quantitative epidemiology), serving as a bridge connecting applied and basic phytopathology, and to coordinate the planning and organization of special sessions for APS Annual Meetings. Committee members have a wide range of interests ranging from application of mathematics and statistics in plant pathology to population biology.​

  • Evolutionary Genetics and Geonomics Committee

    The committee strives to promote research and education in a broad array of plant pathology subdisciplines involving genetics. The inclusive nature of the committee's efforts is indicated by our membership with expertise in evolutionary and population genetics, breeding applications, molecular genetics, and genomics.

  • Forest Pathology

    The mission of the Forest Pathology Committee is to raise awareness and promote research and knowledge in the discipline of forest pathology. The Committee is composed of APS members interested in issues related to tree diseases and tree-microbe interactions, including those associated with biotic and abiotic stressors affecting urban, managed, and unmanaged forests.

    The approaches and perspectives of forest pathology are unique because of the lifespan of the host, the dynamic nature of forest stands, and the complex interactions within diverse forest ecosystems. Long-term growth and production periods as well as high biodiversity promote a broad range of values, such as those associated with the production of wood related products, timber, and non timber renewable resources; those related to the economic, societal, and cultural importance of forests for people inhabiting them; those stemming from recreation opportunities and ecosystem services forests provide; and, finally, those intrinsically associated with forests independent of any human benefit or use.

    The Committee achieves its mission by providing a forum for discussions on current issues, networking opportunities, as well as promoting the organization and/or sponsoring of symposia, special sessions, discussions, field trips and workshops at Annual APS Meetings and other professional meetings. The Committee also serves as a liaison between the APS and other scientific societies, government agencies and industry personnel in regards to forest pathology issues. In 2004, the Committee established the Forest Pathology Student Travel Award to support and encourage the participation of exceptional forest pathology students at Annual APS Meetings.

  • Host Resistance

    Plant diseases have a devastating impact on agricultural production every year. Evolution of pathogens, international travel and trade and alterations in climate play crucial roles in emergence and spread of commonly known and new diseases. Elucidation of mechanism(s) underlying host resistance and development of new disease management strategies that incorporate host resistance are essential in minimizing crop losses in a cost effective and environmentally safe manner. The Host Resistance Committee's primary mission is to foster awareness and disseminate information related to identifying mechanisms of resistance and integrated management strategies that improves the host's ability to defend itself against pathogen attack.

    The field of host resistance is at the core of Plant Pathology profession. Plant Health Management and Biology of Plant-Microbe/pest interactions are two key branches of APS vision for plant pathology for the 21st century and host plant resistance will be an integral component of these two branches. Host resistance will also be an important component of most integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Healthy plants are essential to secure a safe food and energy supply for a continuously growing global population in an environmentally safe and sustainable way and host resistance will play an important role in realizing higher yields to feed the growing population. Genomics will become a key component of host plant resistance research and will lead to development of new and enhanced resistant varieties.

  • Intergrated Plant Disease Management

    The mission of the Integrated Plant Disease Management Committee is to enhance the development and implementation of integrated plant disease management strategies that incorporate conventional and novel biological, cultural, chemical, genetic and other environmentally sound and economically profitable approaches. The vision of the committee is to improve profitability and sustainability of crop production through development and increased adoption of integrated disease management systems with maximal economic and environmental benefits. The committee seeks opportunities to encourage support, provide training, and facilitate dissemination and utilization of integrated disease management practices through educational programs, organization of symposia and special sessions at professional meetings, and other media.

  • Molecular and Cellular Phytopathology

    To provide a forum to assist APS and APS members in pursuing any and all matters relevant to the molecular basis of plants, pathogens, and plant-microbe interactions.

  • Mycology

    The Mycology Subject Matter Committee of APS provides members with information and guidance on fungi and current issues in mycology. Through discussion sessions, symposia, workshops, articles, electronic communication, letters, and personal contacts, the committee provides APS members with a mycology resource sensitive to the needs of plant pathologists yet in touch with the current activities of specialist mycologists. Furthermore, the Mycology Committee acts as an informal link between APS and the Mycological Society of America (MSA). The specific aims of the APS Mycology Committee are to foster communication between plant pathologists and mycologists and to provide APS members with the best information and guidance possible on mycological issues, including current taxonomy, genetics, and economic and regulatory issues involving fungal plant pathogens.

  • Mycotoxicology

    The mission of the Mycotoxicology Committee is to improve awareness of the public about health risks posed by mycotoxins contamination in the food and feed supply worldwide and promote public policies to reduce the exposure of human and animals to mycotoxins. The committee also is committed to expand communication and research collaboration on toxigenic fungi among the scientific community.

  • Nematology

    The mission of Nematology Committee of APS is:

    1) to provide a forum for discussion of issues in plant pathology that are important to nematologists; and
    2) to increase the awareness and to educate members of APS and the community at large about nematological issues affecting crop production. This mission is accomplished through the development of symposia, colloquia, workshops at the annual meetings, and online websites.

  • Pathogen Resistance

    The APS Pathogen Resistance Committee is composed of APS members who seek to:

    1) raise the awareness of pathogen resistance issues and concerns by the dissemination of information via forums including sponsored special sessions, symposia, or workshops provided at the APS annual meeting;
    2) promote research and knowledge on resistance development within a pathogen community to fungicides, bactericides, transgenic-hosts, and/or biocontrol agents; and 3) serve as a liaison between APS and other scientific societies, government agencies and industry personnel with regards to pathogen resistance development and how to mitigate or overcome the negative effects of resistance. One specific and important role of the pathogen resistance committee is to coordinate interactions between government agencies (e.g. EPA) and industry for critical subjects such as FRAC groupings on pesticide labels.

    The APS pathogen resistance committee brings critical issues surrounding pathogen resistance control measures to the forefront in the context of agricultural production in the United States and around the world. The committee also promotes research into pathogen resistance, develops and presents educational programs highlighting the development of resistance and measures to prevent resistance, and strives to convey management practices through extension programs to reduce the risk of resistance development.

  • Phyllosphere Microbiology

    Phyllosphere Microbiology is a subject matter committee of The American Phytopathological Society (APS). It focuses on microbes associated with aerial tissues of plants, which may include leaves, flowers, and fruits. Goals of the committee are to increase awareness of the biology and ecology of aerial plant-associated microbes and to foster communication among those interested in the microbiology of the phyllosphere.

    Traditional focus in this field has been on microorganisms that cause foliar diseases or that can be used as biocontrol agents to prevent such diseases. Recent innovations in technology have broadened this focus by revealing that pathogens and their antagonists are part of a much larger, complex, and diverse community of microorganisms, the so-called phyllosphere microbiota.

    Another development of importance is the continuing concern about contamination of leafy greens with human pathogens. This has opened the discipline to nontraditional phyllosphere microbiologists, which is a trend that the committee welcomes and perceives as a confirmation of the highly cross-disciplinary character and composition of the phyllosphere research community.

    The committee continues to explore different channels through which to share the excitement and importance of phyllosphere microbiology with professionals and the general public and to highlight the unique nature of above-ground plant tissues as a microbial habitat as well as the interactions among plant-associated microbes and with their plant hosts, which impact plant and human health.

  • Disease Surveillance and Pathogen Detection Methods

    Th​e committee provides a forum to discuss current res​earch issues on method development for plant pathogen detection and disease monitoring; and identify and promote responses to diagnostic method needs.

    The committee is composed of APS members interested in issues of method development for the detection of plant pathogens and diseases, and serves as a connecting hub for APS members interested in diagnostic method development and validation. The committee will collaborate with other APS committees and organizations to identify diagnostic method needs, develop diagnostic methods, validate existing diagnostic methods, and establish databases for diagnostic methods and subject matter experts in this field.

  • Postharvest Pathology

    The members of the Postharvest Pathology Committee study microorganisms causing losses of fruits and vegetables in storage, develop strategies to reduce these losses, and improve food quality and safety. Members assist in developing international trade agreements while protecting our homeland agriculture. Members are involved in:

    1) pest risk assessments;
    2) development of new fungicides and biological controls;
    3) identification of MRLs and assisting regulators in domestic and international markets (CODEX);
    4) the preservation of food safety.

  • Seed Pathology

    The Seed Pathology Committee brings together people interested in topics such as seedborne diseases, pathogen detection methods, seed health testing, and phytosanitary issues related to the worldwide movement of seeds. The committee has member representatives from private business, universities, state departments of agriculture, and the USDA.

  • Soil Microbiology and Root Diseases

    The mission of the Soil Microbiology and Root Diseases Committee is to provide a forum where practitioners and researchers, including faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates, from academia, government, and industry, can discuss contemporary issues in soil microbiology, root pathology and health, and recent advances and challenges in the management of soilborne plant pathogens and the diseases they cause. We also endeavor to serve APS and the scientific community at large by providing a platform for communication among researchers and educators, and coordinating efforts to inform public policy decisions as they relate to our field.

    The Soil Microbiology and Root Diseases Committee will promote dialog among its members about contemporary issues in soil microbiology and root pathology and health, emerging diseases, and recent advances and challenges in the management of soilborne pathogens and the diseases they cause. Furthermore, we will create awareness among our members about newly developed field, laboratory, and data analysis protocols. These discussions will form the basis for presenting and disseminating information to the broader phytopathological community and beyond through:

    1) symposia and special sessions at the APS annual meeting;
    2) topical meetings, webinars, short courses, and workshops dealing with various issues of importance to the community;
    3) web-based, multimedia, and print educational resources and materials targeted to plant pathologists, farmers/growers, and the general public.

  • Tropical Plant Pathology

    The Tropical Plant Pathology Committee of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) seeks to increase awareness and promote education and research of plant pathogens affecting tropical crops. The committee provides platforms for discussions on important diseases affecting tropical crops, their epidemiology and management, through the sponsorship or co-sponsorship of workshops, symposia, special sessions and field trips at the annual meeting of the APS.

    By promoting an awareness of research on diseases affecting economically important tropical crops, the committee helps to actively engage/involve members of the APS located in tropical/sub-tropical regions of the world thereby enhancing the exchange of ideas between them and APS colleagues in the temperate regions of the world.

  • Turfgrass Pathology

    The mission of the Turfgrass Pathology Committee is to provide a forum for the exchange of information related to the ecology, epidemiology, genetics, and management of turfgrass diseases and to encourage collaboration among scientists at the national level.

  • Vector-Pathogen Complexes

    Many pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi are transmitted to plants by vectors. The Committee on Vector-Pathogen Complexes consists of APS members who have an interest in vector-pathogen-plant relationships and interactions. The goals of the Committee are to:

    i) Facilitate communications and enhance interactions among scientists active in research involving phytopathogen vectors of all kinds;
    ii) Promote interest in vector-pathogen interactions through sponsored symposia and societal functions;
    iii) Disseminate information useful to the committee members, the society, and relevant external entities;
    iv) Serve as a conduit between the American Phytopathological Society and the Entomological Society of America to bring together scientists belonging to both societies, and ultimately, between APS other relevant societies whose input and participation will enrich the mission and vision of the Vector-Pathogen Complexes Committee.

  • Virology

    The Virology Committee of the American Phytopathological Committee (APS) provides a forum for discussing issues in plant pathology that are important to plant virologists. The committee provides information to members on current issues in virology by sponsoring or co-sponsoring symposia, workshops, and discussion sessions at the annual meeting of the APS. The committee actively solicits external funding for the sessions and gratefully acknowledges sources. The committee supports the creation and preservation of plant virus collections and associated reagents, oligonucleotide sequences, etc., as a resource that will benefit all plant virologists.

    Through sponsorship of published information such as "Virus Diseases of Plants", an image database collection, and this web site, the committee provides virologists and other plant pathologists with written and visual information that is useful in research, extension, and teaching. A subcommittee of the Virology Committee works closely with USDA/APHIS to streamline the permit process for interstate shipment of virus cultures by annually updating the widely prevalent plant virus list. This list is also used to help identify geographic regions where plants containing viral transgenes can be field-tested. Through such activities, the Virology Committee actively serves the membership of the APS.