The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is sending a team to Cuba to collaborate on wood-boring species.

With the US and Cuba improving relations, travel and trade between the two countries will begin to increase. An unintended consequence of that increase is the possibility of invasive species traveling to the US from the island nation.

“The project will assess the risks to Florida from exotic plant pests in Cuba, consistent with UF/IFAS’ mission to protect and enhance agriculture and natural resources of Florida,” the projects principal investigator, Dr. Damian Adams said in a statement.

“We will be analyzing Cuba’s policies and institutional capacity to prevent and mitigate the movement of pests,” he continued

Among the things the researchers will be studying are which species call Cuba home, the economic impact of invasive species on the United States, and Cuba’s methods of controlling these pests. They will also train Cuban scientists on state-of-the-art methods to accurately identify pests.

The project is being funded by a $228,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.