Welcome address by IRS
This is the first time that the three major international organizations of aerobiology (European Aerobiology Society, International Association for Aerobiology and International Ragweed Society) jointly organize the world meeting of professionals working in the field.
The importance of the world meeting is given by the fact that the joint arrangement provides greater weight to the field at the international level, both from the interested public and the researchers of the field, as well as from the stakeholders, i.e. those suffering from diseases caused by aerosols of various biological origins.
The world meeting will be held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The importance of the site is given by the fact that it presently constitutes the north-eastern border of ragweed occurrence in Europe. By the end of the 21st century and as a result of global climate change, ragweed will not only be a typical weed in the region but will continue to expand in the north-northeast direction.
Similarly, ragweed pollen concentrations on all inhabited continents are predicted to increase, the pollen season to extend, and the habitats of ragweed and other allergenic taxa to expand northward. As a result, more and more people are affected by ragweed and its pollen, the number of allergic diseases is increasing globally, and the global public health risk is getting more severe.
One of the aims of the meeting is to raise attention to the growing importance of the topic, as well as to provide insight and solutions to the environmental and social challenges posed by ragweed and its pollen. The International Ragweed Society can especially contribute to this meeting by presenting recent findings on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of the plant and from this to derive local and regional specific management strategies to reduce its impact on agriculture, biodiversity and public health.
More and more scientific papers are published in the field, which require the cooperation of researchers from many fields whose field of investigation is continental or even global in scale. The world meeting provides a unique opportunity to learn about the research topics covering the broadest spectrum of aerobiology, from the results of the presented papers, and to build relationships with specialists working in ragweed research and related topics. This, in turn, will then form the basis of future professional collaborations and joint publications.
Building personal relationships is one of the most important drivers for the preparation of international research projects. With a good heart and with great pleasure, I recommend the world meeting to all professionals dealing with ragweed, and I hope that they will raise the status of the event with their personal participation and presentations, and that they will further broaden their successful professional work with the publications based on the research collaborations that will develop here and in the subsequent international projects.