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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Chitwood, David

Submitted to: Journal of Nematology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2004
Publication Date: 12/29/2004
Citation: Chitwood, D.J. 2004. Alva morgan golden. J. Nematol. 36(4): 421-423.

Interpretive Summary: Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack plant roots and annually cause ten billion dollars of crop losses in the United States. Because the problem of nematode-induced crop damage has persisted for the past 50 years, ARS has maintained a research program in nematode control and identification at the Nematology Laboratory of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. This article is a short obituary describing the scientific achievements of one ARS scientist who enjoyed a long career in this Laboratory. Alva Morgan Golden became an internationally esteemed expert in the field of nematode identification. His major discoveries included the identification and description of many new species of economically important nematodes. His achievements led to a significant reduction in the extent of nematode damage on several crops, such as potato and sugar beet. His research was utilized by growers, quarantine personnel, and scientists throughout the world to minimize crop losses caused by nematodes.

Technical Abstract: Alva Morgan Golden was a Nematologist with the United States Department of Agriculture and the longtime leader of the nematode taxonomy and systematics program within USDA. He was born on July 13, 1920 at the Golden family farm near Milledgeville, Georgia, and died on May 24, 2002. Upon receiving his doctoral degree in 1956, Dr. Golden moved to the USDA laboratory at Salinas, California, where he initiated the new USDA research program on sugarbeet cyst nematode research. He returned in 1959 to the Beltsville Nematology Laboratory, where he was entrusted with the all-important mission of leading the USDA research program in nematode taxonomy and morphology. He remained at Beltsville for the duration of a career that produced 188 scientific publications and abstracts. During nearly 40 years at Beltsville, Dr. Golden amassed an impressive array of scientific achievements that greatly furthered our knowledge of the taxonomy, systematics, and biology of phytoparasitic nematodes, particularly cyst and root-knot nematodes. He established the USDA Nematode Collection, which grew from dozens of specimens to tens of thousands. He served the Society of Nematologists and other scientific societies in several elected and appointed positions, and received numerous honors. His colleagues honored him with at least a dozen patronymic species.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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