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NAISMA Recognizes Deah Lieurance with Rita Beard Visionary Leadership Award

UF/IFAS agronomy extension scientist Deah Lieurance receives the Rita Beard Visionary Leadership Award from the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA), presented by UF/IFAS agronomy professor Luke Flory.

By Cayla Romano, UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) Communication Assistant

UF/IFAS agronomy extension scientist and UF/IFAS CAIP affiliate faculty Deah Lieurance has been selected to receive the Rita Beard Visionary Leadership Award from the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA). This award is given annually and recognizes an early-career individual who has shown exceptional dedication and accomplishments regarding invasive species management or educational activities.

Lieurance’s research program focuses on “developing decision support screening tools to identify invasive species threats through pre-introduction risk assessments and tools to characterize the invasion status of nonnative species already introduced to a region.” These efforts will ultimately reduce economic and ecological losses in agricultural and natural areas in the Southeastern United States.

“Currently, I am wrapping up a horizon scanning project that identified 42 potentially invasive species of all taxa to Florida, and [I am] about to kick off another horizon scan to do the same for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I am also leading a working group of southeastern invasive plant councils working on standardizing the process we use to list plants across the region.”

Lieurance was nominated for this award by UF/IFAS agronomy professor and fellow CAIP affiliate faculty Luke Flory.

“The sentiment behind this award is how I like to approach invasive species research and extension on a state, regional, national, and international level. This award really means the world to me, it is quite an honor.”

In the future, Lieurance expects that her research will begin to incorporate the interactive effects of climate change on biological invasions and their intersections in the southeast. This shift will include looking at new species distributions, extreme weather events, sea level rise, and more. She also plans to recruit a new master’s student to help her perform research on the effects of domestication on invasion risk.

Deah Lieurance, Ph.D.

Deah Lieurance, Ph.D. | Extension Scientist, UF/IFAS Agronomy

About Dr. Deah Lieurance

Originally from Ohio, Lieurance received her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts/environmental studies from Miami University and her master’s degree in invasive plant ecology and ecophysiology from Ohio University. She later earned her Ph.D. in invasive plant ecology and plant-herbivore interactions from Wright State University. At the UF/IFAS Agronomy department and Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Lieurance has overseen the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas since 2013.

The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas uses literature-based assessment tools to evaluate the invasion risk of non-native species that occur in the state, new species proposed for introduction, and novel agricultural and horticultural selections, hybrids, and cultivars. To access the recommendations for over 900 species of non-native plants, visit UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants.

This blog post was written by Cayla Romano, UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants Communication Assistant. Questions or comments can be sent to the UF/IFAS CAIP communications manager at

Follow UF/IFAS CAIP on social media at @ufifascaip. Read more blogs like this one on the UF/IFAS CAIP blog.

UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Turning Science Into Solutions.