Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study predicts when invasive species can travel more readily by air

02.03.2009
Global airlines be forewarned: June 2010 could be a busy month for invasive plants, insects and animals seeking free rides to distant lands.

A new study forecasts when climate factors such as temperature, humidity and rainfall will match at geographically distant airline departure and destination points, which could help to shuffle invasive species, and the diseases they may carry, across the globe along existing flight routes.

The findings provide a framework that could help people who monitor airline flights --- and the people, baggage and cargo aboard --- to plan more efficiently and accurately for detecting and intercepting invasives.

Andy Tatem, who holds a joint position at the Emerging Pathogens Institute and the University of Florida’s geography department, said his model uses the latest forecast data for climate change and air traffic volumes.

“The problem is that as the global transport networks expand, we’re getting more and more invasive species and pathogens coming from different parts of the world that have survived isolated for thousands of years,” said Tatem, who joined UF in January. “But now they have this high-speed link going between different regions of the world.”

The study was published online Jan. 22 in the journal Ecography, and the work was performed in his previous position at the University of Oxford.

Tatem predicts a peak risk will be reached in June 2010, when multiple factors converge to create a month when the climate factors at many flight origin and destination airports would be most similar.

“The model shows us that climatic shifts are not greatly significant over the next few years,” Tatem said. “But the great increase in traffic volumes from expanding economies in India and China are likely to have a significant effect on moving species. This gives us much more of a detailed idea on the importance of key risk factors and how these change over time, compared to previous work we did in 2007."

Tatem reached his conclusions by comparing fine-scale global climate models for 2009 and 2010 prepared by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research with models forecasting traffic volumes on existing airline networks, prepared by OAG Worldwide. The airline models include more than 35 million scheduled flights between 3,570 airports on more than 44,000 different routes.

But exactly how native species wind up aboard an outbound passenger or freight aircraft is still being studied. Tatem said it can be a combination of goods transport and people bringing things aboard either accidentally or knowingly.

“Some studies have shown that mosquitoes can fly on randomly, or they may get into baggage,” he said. “But some things, like plant pathogens, happen when people purposely bring fruit aboard, or they may bring in a plant that makes it through inspections, or they may just have seeds stuck in the soles of their shoes.”

These activities compound over the entire global system, threatening local economies, public health and native ecosystems. In 2007, a biological invasion was documented from a single invasive insect in a study conducted by York University biologists Amro Zayed and Laurence Packer. A different 2007 study by Andrew Liebhold, published in American Entomologist, examined records of U.S. Department of Agricultural inspectors encountering invasive species in airline baggage. Liebhold, a research entomologist with the Northeastern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service, reported that infested fruit, mainly from the tropics, was the most commonly intercepted commodity, and that flies, cicadas, planthoppers, aphids and scale insects were the most commonly intercepted invasive insects.

Liebhold said Tatem’s study provided fascinating predictions about expected trends in the accidental transport of invasive species among continents.

“Unfortunately, unwitting air passengers have too frequently provided transport of plant pests and human diseases and this trend has increased with elevated intercontinental passenger traffic,” Liebhold said. “Hopefully, government agencies will pay attention to these results and utilize them to strengthen inspection activities at airports, in order to protect the world from the devastating impacts of alien species on natural ecosystems as well as on human health.”

Davina Quarterman | Wiley-Blackwell
Further information:
http://interscience.wiley.com
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>