The Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America FL, Inc. (ONTA) is a nonprofit organization comprised of members who have an interest in the study of nematodes. ONTA was founded in 1967 by a group of nematologists from the subtropics and tropics to share information on the management of plant-parasitic nematodes.
The scope of the organization has been broadened over the years to include individuals with interests in free-living and insect-parasitic nematodes. ONTA has over 300 members world wide, and these include university scientists, national governmental nematologists, private sector companies and their employees.
Membership is open to all individuals and companies that share an interest in subtropical and tropical nematology. Current membership dues are $40.00 U.S. per year. Members have access to the ONTA-sponsored scientific journal NEMATROPICA and may PUBLISH MANUSCRIPTS FREE OF CHARGE.
During the First Symposium on Tropical Nematology held at the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Puerto Rico (AES-UPR) in 1967 in Rio Piedras, Alejandro Ayala and Jess J Roman, both of the AES-UPR, and several others interested in tropical nematology discussed the needs for the formation of a new scientific society. The principal aim of creating the society was to promote cooperation between the nematologists of Latin America and those in the United States. The preliminary meeting was held on December 2, 1967 at the Excelsior Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Participants at the first meeting were nine scientists from five countries: Drs. A. Ayala, J. Roman, R. Chevres-Roman and L. F. Martorell of Puerto Rico; R. Barriga Olivares, Colombia; G. Blair, Trinidad; J. E. Edmunds, St. Lucia; and J. A. Winchester and A. C. Tarjan, U.S.A. The society was named “The Organization of Tropical American Nematologists” (OTAN), which later was translated into Spanish as ” Organización de Nematólogos de los Trópicos Americanos” (ONTA) in order to avoid confusion with the Spanish language acronym of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (OTAN). Later the Spanish name was translated into English as “Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America” (ONTA). The group elected a board of directors and Armen C. Tarjan, University of Florida, U.S.A., was chosen to serve as the first president. The first scientific meeting of the Organization was held during November 1968 in Sarasota, Florida with the participation of 44 members from 10 countries. In its second year the society had 105 members in 19 countries. The society now has approximately 300 members representing over 45 countries. ONTA was incorporated as a tax-exempt corporation in Florida, in 2008, with the new name Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America FL, Inc. (ONTA). The incorporation in Florida has provided a base of action for the organization. It has also strengthened its operational framework by facilitating the execution of the scientific activities planned by the organization.