The UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) is a research, teaching, and extension unit located just north of the main Gainesville campus. In 1978, the Florida state legislature established the UF/IFAS CAIP to develop environmentally sound management techniques for aquatic and natural area invasive plant species.
The Center was created in response to a critical time for Florida's environment as invasive plants like hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) were infesting lakes at unprecedented rates and despite rigorous management efforts, water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) continued invading waterways. With only two faculty at the Center and a commitment to the scientific method, experiments were completed, applicators were trained, and numerous students were educated. The Center quickly became internationally known for innovation and information related to aquatic plant management.
Today, the Center continues to support agencies and organizations committed to managing aquatic and invasive plants while also informing the public about the impacts of invasive aquatic and natural area weedy plant species. UF/IFAS CAIP is now a team of scientists and staff that specialize in various aspects of invasive plant ecology and management. Currently, CAIP scientists are working on a variety of research projects that examine the impact of management practices on aquatic and natural area ecosystems, potential management strategies, and invasive plant ecology.
If you are interested in learning more about the Center or invasive plants, subscribe to our blog or listen to our podcast, Working in the Weeds, where we talk about invasive plants and Florida’s unique environment with CAIP faculty and other experts in the field! Stay connected by following UF/IFAS CAIP on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.