Biosecurity surveillance design: detecting non-indigenous vertebrate introductions using risk and power
- Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity
- Address for correspondence: School of Mathematical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point Campus, PO Box 2434, Brisbane QLD 4001
Ecosystems can be severely damaged by the introduction, establishment and spread of non-indigenous species (NIS) including vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. Development and use of natural areas poses a biosecurity risk regarding the introduction of increase NIS invasion risks, so biosecurity systems including prevention and detection measures are required. Even with the most rigorous biosecurity efforts, there is potential for NIS to evade quarantine and go on to establish and spread. The cost of such an event can be great, both environmentally and financially (e.g. containment/ management or eradication). We have developed a surveillance design methodology, for an application where increased use of a natural area may result in NIS incursions, even with extensive biosecurity systems. The surveillance design methodology acknowledges heterogeneity of risk in the study area and stratifies the area to optimise surveillance deployment, achieving great efficiencies and improvement in statistical power of detection. Many of the risk decisions require lack data and so the system incorporates expert opinion with available data. The design covers the broad range of potential NIS that may be introduced by using exemplar species and a variety of surveillance system components (SSCs) (such as a combination of formal scientific surveys, trapping methods, and casual observation) distributed optimally over time and space. The mix of SSCs can be manipulated to take into account such factors as their relative financial costs and demands on expertise. The methodology has the flexibility to be applied to various groups of potential NIS (e.g. vertebrates, invertebrates and plants), and the design can evolve as data are collected (adaptive management). Overall, the surveillance design methodology allows for an efficient use of resources, providing sufficient power to detect incursions, resulting in reduced environmental and financial costs from NIS incursions.