The Texas Invasive Species Institute (T.I.S.I.) is the first comprehensive effort in Texas that is focused on research and coordinating the effective early detection and rapid response to multiple new invasive species that currently impact, or have the potential to impact, ecosystems and produce major economic effects.
Texas is at the geographic crossroads of the movement and/or introduction of invasive species, primarily due to its major maritime and land-based ports of entry, corridors between states, as well as major trucking routes and long border with Mexico. The impact of these species is far-reaching, including threatening the nation's food supply, destroying infrastructure (e.g. electrical systems), destroying natural resources (e.g., clogging lakes and waterways), reducing water supplies (e.g., to agriculture and ecosystems), and jeopardizing homeland security (e.g., blocking the view of border patrol agents and causing fires on military installations). While various agencies and organizations work on specific invasive species problems (primarily focused on agriculture) in Texas, their effort regarding early detection and rapid response are limited and uncoordinated. T.I.S.I. is able to predict where new and existing invasive species may spread and/or may need to be monitored. This information can be used to quickly develop response plans for Texas and the Gulf Coast region in order to control or eradicate potential threats.
Given the significance of these issues, the Texas State University System (TSUS) has identified the study and integrated management of invasive species as a high priority research focus, resulting in the establishment of T.I.S.I. With ten campuses stretched across Texas, TSUS is well positioned to effectively contribute in this area due to its significant scientific expertise on invasive species and broad (east-to-west) geographic coverage across the state.
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T.I.S.I. currently draws from the expertise of over 40 researchers within the Texas State University System (TSUS). This expertise enables T.I.S.I. to apply effective measures currently lacking in Texas when dealing with detection and rapid response to primarily new invasive species.
Specifically, T.I.S.I. focuses on: