Navigation Links
Bugging out: NC State researchers help track wayward pests through mapping

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."


Contact: Caroline M. Barnhill
North Carolina State University

Related biology news :

1. Whats bugging locusts?
2. K-State professor using NSF award to study the impact of nitrogen deposition on global change
3. K-State scientist to receive $1 million CAREER award
4. NC State wins ARPA-E grant to study extremophile production of biofuels
5. US Department of State names UCR entomologist a Jefferson Science Fellow
6. U.S. Preventive Medicine Helps Participants of the State of Nevada Public Employees Benefits Program (PEBP) Become Healthier
7. State biofuel subsidies costly but effective, MSU research shows
8. Bionanotechnology has new face, world-class future at Florida State
9. UC to test targeted treatment for prostate cancer
10. Solid-state illuminator reduces nitrates in leafy green vegetables
11. Montana State University historian wins prize for book on Montana, Utah copper mines
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Bugging out: NC State researchers help track wayward pests through mapping
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Sensors - Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology ... fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% ... devices and of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... 19, 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively ... a few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche ... the market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing ... Market for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... still controlled by one company and only a handful ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Paris from 17 th ... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... has invented the first combined scanner in the world which ... surface. Until now two different scanners were required: one for ... on the same surface. This innovation is an ideal ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... Park Systems , world leader ... ion conductance microscopy module to Park NX10 that is the only product available ... benefits virtually all materials characterization that require measurements in liquid such as hydrogel, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... December 1, 2015 Dr. Harry Lander , President of ... as Chief Science Officer and recruits five distinguished ... Lander , President of Regen, expands his role to include ... recruits five distinguished scientists to join advisory team ... expands his role to include serving as ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global ... and development stages of a new closed system for isolating adipose-derived stem cells. The ... vascular fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue. SVF is a component of the lipoaspirate obtained ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Partnership includes an MPP ... the u niversity , s Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) ... - up through cost cuts ... , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right to make, ... Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right ...
Breaking Biology Technology: