A journey through the ‘Nemastonishing’ world of nematodes / Hendrika (Driekie) Fourie
Since my first encounter with nematodes, I was intrigued by these extraordinary, microscopic organisms for which Nobel Prizes have been awarded for groundbreaking research. The quote by Carl Sagan: ‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known' became true a few times during my mesmerizing career in Nematology. I had the privilege of, together with my research teams (colleagues and students), adding novel information to the scientific fraternity regarding plant-parasitic nematodes as well as their non-parasitic counterparts. Most importantly, we were able to assist producers to produce crops sustainably in the presence of low nematode pest population densities under changing climatic conditions. This way marketable produce could be achieved whereby contributions were made to provide food for the nation. Ultimately, the highlight of my scientific career was to act as initiator and chief editor of the book “Nematology in South Africa: A view from the 21st century” whereby nematological research results that were generated by South African nematologists (and international colleagues) since 1982 were published by Springer International. In this Inaugural Lecture I share with those who are interested to ‘walk with me’, the milestones reached during the journey of my career in the discipline of Nematology. This ‘road’ is challenging, but exciting and fulfilling!