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Graduate Student Highlight: Jacob Thayer

Jacob Thayer, UF/IFAS CAIP Graduate Student

Jacob Thayer, originally from Jupiter, Florida, is a graduate assistant with the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) majoring in agronomy with a focus in aquatic plant management. Majoring in forest resources and conservation, Jacob worked for CAIP as an undergraduate student under the supervision of Dr. William Haller.

His research interests focus on aquatic soils and their affect on plant colonization. With a minor in soil and water sciences, Jacob has developed an interest in how nutrients interact in the soil as it relates to aquatic plants. He now works under Dr. James Leary and co-advisor Dr. Candice Prince studying herbicide screening.

“I think it’s really fascinating that there is a whole other sphere that plants grow in that have different adaptations, different ways of dealing with stress like underwater oxygen stress, different nutrient species and stuff like that,” Jacob said.

Jacob said his dad has taught him about aquatic plants his entire life. In fact, one could say working at CAIP is a family tradition for the Thayer family. Jacob, his brother, father and grandfather have all worked at the Center at one time or another.

First in the family to work for CAIP was Jacob’s father, Dan Thayer. In fact, Dan also worked with Dr. Haller and received a master’s degree in agronomy, the same major his son Jacob is pursuing. Later in his career, Dan worked for the South Florida Water Management District as the Bureau Chief of Land Resources. He now works as a Biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Jacob’s grandfather, Paul Thayer, was the next in the family line to work for the Center. As a plant pathologist by trade, Paul looked at plant diseases on farms and in his retirement spent a few years working for CAIP. Then Jacob’s brother, Kyle Thayer, worked at the Center as an employee while pursuing his undergraduate degree. He now works for the University of Florida in Ft. Lauderdale as an agricultural assistant working in aquatic plant maintenance and research.

Jacob periodically finds equipment that used to belong to his grandfather such as, buckets, pens and other various items with the Thayer name written on them.

His future career goals are to eventually move back to Jupiter and work in aquatic plant management. However, as a first semester graduate student in the fall, he is excited to delve deeper into his research for now

Funding graduate student research and supporting students interesting in invasive aquatic plant management are two of the many goals of UF/IFAS CAIP. Any questions should be directed to Shelby Oesterreicher at 352-273-3667 or soesterreicher@ufl.edu. For more information about the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, please visit https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu. Be sure to follow us on social @UFIFASCAIP.

UF/IFAS CAIP, Turning Science Into Solutions.