UF/IFAS creates a new research institute for invasion sciences

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Florida is ground zero for invasive species in the United States, with more arriving every year. Now the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences creates the Invasion Science Research Institute to focus on the issue – not just here in Florida, but around the world.

In response to this ever-growing local and global problem, UF/IFAS brings together more than 120 academic scientists from 20 different departments who are dedicated to the detection, diversion, monitoring and control of non-native wildlife and plant species and invasive.

Dr Matthew Thomas is an internationally renowned entomologist and conservationist, and is the first director of the new Invasion Scientific Research Institute. He said they were going to create something transformative.

“So we really put UF on the map as the US center of excellence for invasion science, and ultimately one of the world’s centers of excellence for invasion science. So that’s a great and noble ambition, but that is where I would like to take it.

According to a study published earlier this year in the magazine Total Environmental Science, here in the United States, invasive species cost the US economy more than $21 billion a year, with the agricultural industry being the most affected.

Dr. Thomas says increased mobility and global trade are the main reasons for the spread of invasive animals and plants.

You can hear a conversation with Dr. Thomas about his work and plans for the new institute on Gulf Coast Life.

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