Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bugging Out: NC State Researchers Help Track Wayward Pests Through Mapping

06.05.2010
Tracking invasive pests around the world sounds like it would make for an interesting show on the Discovery Channel. However, the work that goes into tracking these species is less “Deadliest Catch” and more “Dirty Jobs.”

Researchers at North Carolina State University partnered with scientists and analysts from around the globe to determine recommendations to improve pest-risk mapping to better inform decision makers on where and how to best combat pests.

“We use pest-risk maps to estimate where invasive species might arrive, establish, spread or cause harmful impacts,” says Dr. Roger Magarey, senior researcher at NC State. “This provides decision makers the insight to determine whether management – prevention, eradication, containment or suppression – is needed, and which option is most appropriate.”

Species that have the potential to cause harmful ecological, economic or social impacts in an area of concern are considered “pests.” Maps are created as visual representations of pest risk. However, the various methods used to create these maps can potentially yield very different depictions of risk for the same species. Pest-risk mapping is part of a greater risk assessment – which informs pest management. Pest-risk assessments help determine the degree of risk a pest might represent, and influence where land management agencies, regulatory agencies and agricultural groups should allocate the most resources – and what specific actions to take – in order to protect our forests, agriculture and other natural resources.

Researchers developed a set of guidelines to improve risk mapping – including things such as increasing international collaboration, incorporating climate change and providing training in pest-risk modeling. Their recommendations were published in the May issue of BioScience. Dr. Frank Koch, a research assistant professor at NC State, focused his work on a recommendation around improving the representation of uncertainty.

“Uncertainty is inherent in pest-risk models – you can’t pre-determine things like climate change – and you certainly cannot always account for things like incomplete data or natural variability in the system. And because uncertainty often goes unrepresented in pest-risk mapping, the maps may suggest more certainty than actually exists,” Koch explains. “So one of our recommendations is for pest-risk analysts to address uncertainty through processes like sensitivity analyses – where verification and validation provide estimates of model error – or ensemble modeling – where a structured combination of predictions can yield a lower mean error than any individual prediction.”

Magarey’s research looked into creating software systems to account for climate change – which poses its own set of challenges for the development and interpretation of pest-risk maps. His climate-based prediction system, in which you input biological values for a particular pest – like the optimum temperatures for growth – gives you an output that shows what parts of the country are most at risk for a particular pest.

“This study was important because we had different groups of people – entomologists, biologists, plant pathologists and more – coming together to prioritize the most important areas of improvement in the way we do pest-risk mapping,” Magarey says. “Right now, we have people using a variety of techniques to map pest risk. Creating best practices out of these recommendations will result in higher quality – and higher consistency – of pest-risk maps.”

“Our next step as a group is to develop a best practices guide – not a cookbook of how to do pest-risk mapping – but to lay out what you need to have in place to ensure validity and rigor of your mapping, and making sure that information is getting to the right decision makers,” Koch added. “We’ve learned in this study that there is a big disconnect between the scientists who create the maps and those who must use the maps to marshal their resources. We need to do a better job of making these maps more communicative for those who need to implement their findings.”

The Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources is part of NC State’s College of Natural Resources.

Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows.

“Pest Risk Maps for Invasive Alien Species: A Roadmap for Improvement”
Authors: Roger D. Magarey and Frank Koch, North Carolina State University, Robert C. Venette, U.S. Forest Service, Darren Kriticos, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, et al.

Published: Online, May 3, 2010, in BioScience.

Abstract:
Pest risk maps are powerful visual communication tools to describe where invasive alien species might arrive, establish, spread or cause harmful impacts. These maps inform strategic and tactical pest management decisions, such as potential restrictions on international trade or the design of pest surveys and domestic quarantines. Diverse methods are available to create pest risk maps, and can potentially yield different depictions of risk for the same species. Inherent uncertainties about the biology of the invader, future climate conditions, and species interactions further complication map interpretation. If multiple maps are available, risk managers must choose how to incorporate the various representations of risk into their decision-making process, and may make significant errors if they misunderstand what each map portrays. This article describes the need for pest risk maps, compares pest risk mapping methods, and recommends future research to improve such important decision-support tools.

Dr. Frank Koch | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

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 >>>