UI Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations UI Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations University of Idaho College of Natural Resources University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Image Map
 

Center for Research on Invasive Species
and Small Populations (CRISSP)

Headquartered at the University of Idaho’s main Moscow campus, CRISSP is a cross-disciplinary group of scientists and educators addressing natural and agricultural resource problems. Their emphasis is on ecological issues confronting small or declining populations of native flora and fauna and the spread of invasive species, with special emphasis on understanding the lineages between these threats to native and managed ecosystems in the region. CRISSP faculty have initiated collaborative research projects in partnership with colleagues from peer universities, tribal research institutions and federal agency research branches, to address invasive species and small population topics.

Mission

Our mission is to provide leadership in promoting research and outreach that address the challenges presented by declining populations of native flora and fauna and the spread of invasive species, with special emphasis on understanding the linkages between these threats to native and managed ecosystems of the region. Declines in populations of native flora and fauna and the spread of invasive species are two human caused ecological phenomena threatening the stability of ecosystems, the ecosystem services they provide, and the capacity of managed ecosystems for sustainable production. These two threats are typically addressed separately, but are linked directly and indirectly through ecological processes and the human systems that are affected. CRISSP provides leadership and promotes research and outreach that addresses these threats with special emphasis on the links between them. CRISSP provides information related to these issues to stakeholders and policymakers to ensure the problems are understood comprehensively and address effectively.

Background

The Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations was created following a competitive $954,000 three year award of the Idaho State Board of Education Grant (SBOE) for its inception. The SBOE Grant provided initial funding for undergraduate summer research internships, partial graduate student stipends, and post-doctorial fellowships. In addition, funds were used to acquire and/or update equipment and partially fund the manager of the Laboratory for Ecology and Conservation Genetics (LCEG). Lastly, funds were used to implement and outreach program for the dissemination of CRISSP project results.

Outreach and Education

Effective management of small populations and of invasive species involves scientific expertise and coordination in both the public and private spheres. CRISSP aims to build communication between research and land management through its expertise in natural and social sciences. The center’s science experience includes aquatic and terrestrial ecology, molecular biology, remote sensing, population modeling, threatened native plant and animal species, as well as invasive plants, animals, diseases, and fungi. Social science experience includes research in policy, law, environmental economics, environmental science education, community-based conservation planning and public involvement.

CRISSP seeks to strengthen relationships and collaborations with universities, non-for-profit organizations, and all levels of government. CRISSP specifically emphasizes on collaborative projects with and for independent tribal nations.

Results of CRISSP projects on invasive species and small population projects are distributed in a variety of ways. The center builds awareness through undergraduate research experience programs (REU), graduate and post-graduate research opportunities that are communicated through respective scientific journal articles, in extension journals, bulletins, and pamphlets through the Cooperative Extension Service System and through specialist and public workshops. Examples of outreach include but are not limited to one-on-one workshops, presentations in public schools, environmental education programs, community involvement projects, and client tailored outreach products.

Activities
  • Research on the biology of invasive plants, animals and microbes
  • Research on small or threatened populations of plants and animals
  • Central clearing house for information on small or threatened populations, and invasive species in our region
  • Public education and workshops on conservation management of invasive species and small populations
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU Program)