Trade is never zero risk, despite our best efforts there is always some residual probability that an unwanted, potentially invasive, species will cross our border. The most crucial element that prevents an incursion from progressing to an establishment is early detection, thus maximising potential eradication success. Detection relies on surveillance and Biosecurity NZ operates 13 targeted surveillance programmes (particular species or pathways) and a general surveillance programme that encourages public reporting via a 0800 hot line. New Zealand does not operate a non-specific trapping programme at first ports of entry, e.g., flight intercept traps at air and sea ports. However, internationally such trapping programmes have shown that they can detect new incursions. Globally the big research gap for non-specific trapping is that we do not understand the sensitivity and specificity of a given trapping programme design.
The applicant will collate and curate an international dataset of community ecology studies with which to test mathematical constructs that explain the processes by which rare species accumulate in samples. A practical field-based component to test specific hypotheses can be included and tailored to the interests of the applicant.
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