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The Aquatic Bioinvasion Research and Policy Institute

The Aquatic Bioinvasion Research and Policy Institute (ABRPI), is a joint initiative between Portland State University (PSU) and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). Its primary goal is to advance an array of collaborative and coordinated research, education and outreach activities that focus on the biological aspects of invasions in aquatic (marine and freshwater) ecosystems. The Institute was established on October 26, 2004 at a press conference held at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry attended by representatives of PSU and SERC, Congressman David Wu and Congresswoman Darlene Hooley.

The Institute is jointly administered by Dr. Gregory Ruiz, director of SERC's Marine Invasions Research Lab, and Dr. Mark Sytsma, director of PSU's Center for Lakes and Reservoirs. One of the primary goals behind the establishment of the ABRPI was to develop a strong collaborative link between the freshwater and marine expertise offered by both labs and to take advantage of facilities on the east and west coasts of the US. The Institute therefore combines the respective strengths of PSU and SERC in aquatic systems, and seeks to develop novel approaches to research, management and policy on biological invasions from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts.

Through collaborative efforts with additional institutions and agencies, the ABRPI will include a diverse range of disciplines that are relevant to invasion processes, including biology, environmental science, economics and trade, engineering, and social sciences. With a focus on basic and applied research, the ABRPI's activities will also include strong components for student training and generating information resources for the public, resource managers and policy-makers. PSU will serve as the home base for the Aquatic Bioinvasion Research and Policy Institute. SERC's Chesapeake Bay laboratories will be the base for Atlantic Coast research. The ABRPI will engage scores of interested research staff, currently in residence at PSU and SERC, and plans to establish a broad consortium of industry, natural resource managers, researchers and students from many additional organizations with interest and expertise in aquatic bioinvasions.

The new Institute will address critical gaps in science and management of aquatic bioinvasions across several key areas:

. Drivers of current spatial and temporal patterns of invasions;
. Ecological effects of biological invasions;
. Policy, trade and economic dimensions of biological invasions;
. Roles of shipping and other transfer mechanisms in species dispersal;
. Factors that effect aquatic ecosystems' susceptibility for invasion;
. Effectiveness of strategies in reducing species transfer, invasion establishment, and invasion impacts;
. Transmission, epidemiology, and effects of non-native parasites and pathogens, including those that infect humans, fisheries species, and other aquatic organisms.