Norman C. Leppla, ESA Fellow (2009)

Dr. Norman C. Leppla, professor and program director for the University of Florida (UF) Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), was elected as Fellow in 2009.  Leppla is known for his leadership and research in biological control and IPM.

Leppla earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in zoology from Arizona State University, respectively in 1968 and 1970, and received his Ph.D. degree in entomology with a minor in biological sciences from the University of Arizona in 1972. From 1972–1988, he was a research entomologist with USDA-ARS in Gainesville, FL where he specialized in insect colonization and mass production and insect behavioral ecology in support of ecologically based pest management. He also served on the doctoral research faculty of UF as an adjunct associate professor of entomology. In 1989, he established the USDA-ARS Biological Control of Pests Research Laboratory at Weslaco, TX and served as its first research leader. He became chief of Methods Development at USDA-APHIS, in Hyattsville, MD from 1990–1994. In this assignment, he managed a complex agricultural research and technology program distributed among 14 laboratories and established the National Biological Control Institute. He was associate director of the National Biological Control Institute in 1995 and 1996, with responsibility for developing and delivering environmentally safe pest management technologies. He served as director of the UF-IFAS Central Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, FL in 1997 and 1998. In this capacity, he managed three experiment stations, developed new facilities for their merger, and supervised faculty and staff from five academic departments. He has authored or co-authored over 200 publications on a range of agricultural topics and presented a greater number of papers on his research and administrative activities.

Leppla currently directs the UF IPM program he established in 2001, with responsibility for statewide research, extension, and teaching in IPM, emphasizing augmentation and conservation biological control. He contributes scientific and technical consultation, develops research partnerships, oversees delivery of IPM and biological control technologies, helps develop and implement large-scale natural enemy production and quality assurance systems, develops research and extension documents, reviews technical publications, participates in professional societies and serves as a faculty representative of UF-IFAS and the Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Leppla is consulted frequently on biological control of pests and insect colonization and mass production, and has been a mentor to students and scientists throughout the world. He provides IPM education through the UF Plant Medicine Program, which trains students to become plant health professionals. Recent emphasis has been on plant biosecurity, specifically safeguarding the U.S. against invasive species. He has been recognized with numerous awards: Florida Entomological Society, president and Entomologist of the Year; Association of Natural Biocontrol Producers Award of Excellence; Insect Rearing Workshop dedication; award for 10 years of service as chair of the Florida A&M University Center for Biological Control Advisory Council and appointment as an adjunct faculty member; and ESA-SEB, Award for Excellence in IPM. He was elected president of ESA-SEB in 2011.

(updated June, 2012)