Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invasive pest danger closer than you think

02.12.2010
In Australia, when crossing from one state to another, travelers may encounter a quarantine stop and may be required to forfeit recently purchased fruits and vegetables as a hedge against invasive pests.

But in the U.S., crossing state lines is free wheeling, according to researchers from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, who evaluated the threat of invasive pests to states from within the country.

"We concluded that the immediate threat from known invasive insect pests is greater from within the United States than without," the researchers reported in the current issue of Nature Communications.

"Our findings have significant implications for biosecurity policy and the need to consider security measures beyond established national borders," said Matthew Thomas, professor of entomology, Penn State.

Alien invasive species cost the U.S. economy $120 billion annually. Determining the identity and potential entry paths for these species is important for farmers and policy makers, especially in light of the increases in global trade and transport of agricultural materials internationally.

The researchers, who included Thomas; Dean R. Paini, David C. Cook and Paul J. De Barro of CSIRO Ecosystems Science, Canberra; and Susan P. Worner, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand, looked at a large database comprising details for over 850 pest species across 459 different geographic locations around the globe to determine which insect species are normally found together. Insect pests do not assemble randomly, but come together based on shared ecological and environmental features. For example, two species that feed on citrus crops in sub-tropical environments might often be found together, but they are unlikely to share many features with a pest that attacks sweet corn in temperate environments. This approach of comparing different species assemblages enabled the team to generate lists of the top 100 known insect pests most likely to establish in the U.S. and each of the 48 contiguous states.

The researchers found that, while all the top 100 known exotic insect pests for the entire U.S. already exist in the country, the top lists for each of the states included many species that are yet to establish in those states. In all cases except one, the absent pests do occur somewhere else in the U.S. and more often than not, they are found in a neighboring state. In fact, 12 states had every pest species that they were missing located just across their borders in a neighboring state. The one exception is Florida, which is one of a few states to have a relatively unique pest assemblage, perhaps because of the tropical nature of its environment.

Insect pest assemblages are not necessarily the same across neighboring states. While New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan form a cluster of similar species, so does Minnesota. However, Wisconsin does not, but shares a species assemblage more similar to Maine. The south is a solid block from Texas to Virginia, excluding Florida and including Missouri and Illinois. Farther west the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming share pest profiles with Nevada, but Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are more like Nebraska.

The researchers used a computer approach called artificial neural networking -- a program that links information on branches like biological neurons -- to determine the interconnectivity of the pest assemblages across different sites. They searched an existing database, CABI Crop Protection Compendium, to identify the top 100 potential invasive insect pests for the entire U.S. and individual states. They then determined which species did not yet reside in these top 100 lists.

Thomas and his colleagues found that no relationship existed between the state's size and the number of potential pests still absent in the state. They also found that southern states with their increased biodiversity did not have fewer absent insect pests from their mix of potential pests. They did find significant negative relationships with both the number of incoming domestic air passengers and the gross national product of the state. States with higher gross national products had fewer missing potential insect pests and states with higher domestic air passenger traffic also had fewer absent potential insect pests.

"The fact that exotic species absent from one state were frequently found in a neighboring state implies the ease at which pests could arrive from a neighbor," said Thomas. "Fly into a U.S. airport from overseas and there are many biosecurity measures in place to reduce accidental introduction of a pest, weed or disease. Our analysis suggests the risks might be just as great flying into a domestic terminal or crossing a state boundary by car."

Australia's Cooperative Research Centres Program supported this work.

A'ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

nachricht Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea
14.02.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>