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Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Dr. Johan Desaeger

Associate Professor of Entomology and Nematology

Dr. Johan Desaeger was born and raised in Belgium, and he graduated as an agricultural engineer from the University of Ghent. He started working with nematodes in 1994 in Kenya at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry. After completing his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of Leuven in 2001. he moved to the U.S. to work on nematode management in vegetables at the Universities of Florida and Georgia. He made the leap to industry in 2005 when he joined DuPont to start up a nematology program at their former research facility in Delaware.

Dr. Desaeger came back to Florida and joined the UF/IFAS faculty in the summer of 2016 to build a new nematology research group at the GCREC.

Desaeger Nematology Lab

  • Research

    Research – major accomplishments and crop focus

    Research at the Gulf Coast Nematology Lab is focused on developing integrated nematode management (INM) programs for Florida agriculture with a focus on vegetables, small fruits, ornamental and alternative crops. Research is undertaken at the GCREC research facilities and in farmer’s fields.

    • Tomato:
      • nematode survey to determine importance of different root-knot species
      • chemical and biological control testing
      • nematode-resistant tomato cv’s
    • Cucurbits (cucumber, summer squash, zucchini, melons, etc)
      • chemical and biological control testing
      • screening cucurbit crops/cv’s to major root-knot nematode species
    • Strawberry:
      • nematode survey of foliar, root-knot, sting, and lesion nematodes
      • monitor transplants from out-of-state nurseries for presence of nematodes
      • chemical and biological control testing
      • thermal treatment of transplants
      • anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD)
    • Cover crops:
      • Nematode host status and use as a nematode management tool in strawberry, tomato and cucurbit crops
    • Hops:
      • screening hop varieties for nematode host status
    • Hemp:
      • screening hemp varieties for nematode host status
    • Ornamentals:
      • screening Caladium varieties for root-knot nematode host status
      • hot water treatments of tubers for nematode control
    • Asian vegetables:
      • nematode survey in Asian vegetable farms
    • Organic production
      • Nematode management in organic strawberries and vegetables, including OMRI nematicides, ASD, solarization
    • Nematode-suppressiveness
      • Investigate natural suppressiveness of Florida agricultural soils
    • Guava root-knot nematode


  • Extension

    Extension – major accomplishments

    1. Large plot grower trials for evaluating new nematicides, biologicals, and fumigants (cucumber, tomato, strawberries, caladium).
    2. Training and research updates to growers, consultants, and industry reps during grower meetings/conferences, GCREC events.
    3. Contributions on nematode management to the Annual Vegetable Production Handbook for Florida and the Southeastern Vegetable Crop Handbook.
  • Lab Team
    Lab Phone Number: 813-419-6582  
    Staff Member Contact Information
    Hung Bui, Bio Scientist II
    Justin Carter, Bio Scientist II
    Dustin Jacobs, OPS Tech
    Selmamwitt Kidane, PostDoc  
    Laura Mayorga, Grad Student
    David Moreira, Grad Student
    Gabrieli Riva, Grad Student
    Chenzhao (Bonnie) Xie, Bio Scientist II
    Tawanga Zakeyu, Research Scholar  



Rm. # 135
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
14625 CR 672
Wimauma, FL  33598

  • Education


    • Ph.D. Applied Biological Sciences (Nematology), Univerity of Leuven, Belgium, 2001
    • Advanced studies in agricultural department, Univeristy of Gent, Belgium, 1994
    • Agricultural Engineer Plant Protection, University of Gent, Belgium, 1988
  • Publications
  • Professional Service and Awards