• Phytophthora agathidicida oospores. Image - Margaret Dick, Scion

    Phytophthora agathidicida oospores. Image - Margaret Dick, Scion

Biosecurity networks Professor Phil Hulme, Lincoln University

A major biosecurity challenge is to effectively contain and manage threats following their establishment in New Zealand. Human's play a critical role in the spread of many biosecurity threats. There are considerable economic, environmental and social benefi ts to containing outbreaks and actively slowing the spread of organisms before they cause widespread damage and intensive management is required. This project brings together different perspectives in network modelling across multiple sectors (freight movement, nursery trade, livestock movement, recreational travel) in order to identify mitigation checkpoints to contain or slow pest spread.

Citizen-based biosecurity surveillance Dr Steve Pawson, Scion

Current tools for public participation in surveillance (termed ‘general surveillance’) have not kept pace with new technologies that have the potential to improve surveillance effectiveness, strengthen the biosecurity system, and ultimately protect our natural and production ecosystems. This project is co-developing a new General Surveillance Network (GSN) in collaboration with central and regional government, Māori, primary sectors and the public. The GSN utilises mobile technologies to facilitate communication and the submitting of observations of weeds, pests and pathogens.

Genomics and metagenomics to mitigate pathogen risk Dr Bevan Weir, Manaaki Whenua

Soil-borne plant pathogens such as Phytophthora spp. can have destructive effects on native and exotic plant species. This has been demonstrated widely overseas and more recently in New Zealand by the emergence and spread of the devastating dieback disease of kauri, and the red needle cast of Pinus radiata. To future-proof our native and production ecosystems from invasion of new pathogens, rapid assessments of the potential impact of identifi ed and unidentifi ed pathogens are critical. This project uses globally leading genomic technologies to deliver a step-change in risk assessment and the characterisation of novel pathogens, with a focus on detection and assessment of pathogenicity elements (e.g. pathogen effector genes).

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