Dr. James Leary was appointed as Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (UF/IFAS CAIP) in February 2019. Prior to his appointment, he served as a specialist in invasive plant species management with the University of Hawaii, stationed on the island of Maui. He was born and raised in Michigan, earning a bachelor's degree in horticulture and chemistry at Michigan State University. He relocated to Hawaii, earning his master's and doctorate in horticulture and molecular ecology, respectively, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has over 20 years of experience in tropical weed management. His mission is to extend knowledge and technology contributing to efficient and effective invasive plant species management in natural and managed landscapes.