Development of a marine spatial analysis model for improved biofouling risk assessment
Biofouling (accumulation of living matter onvessels, marine infrastructure and other submerged surfaces) is a known pathway for non-indigenous marine species, which can cause major economic, social and environmental damage (internationally and within Australia). Biofouling on internationally arriving vessels is currently unmanaged, yet represents a significant threat to marine biosecurity and associated industries. It would fill an important gap to refine knowledge of high risk pathways for the biofouling species of concern. The species of concern or SOC list forms the basis for a proposed management approach, so improved knowledge of the risks around these particular species would strengthen this approach. The current risk assessment tool does not have the capacity to identify high risk pathways based on compatibility between Australian ports, the temperature tolerance and distribution of SOC and the last ports visited by internationally arriving vessels. Investigations into the environmental compatibility of SOC, last point of call and Australian ports could improve the risk targeting ability of this tool for the benefit of DA and the international shipping industry.
In terrestrial environments, whenever a pest, weed or disease is detected in a new area, it is important to determine efficiently the priority locations within the new area where the exotic species might establish first to enable an effective response through targeted surveillance and the establishment of effective quarantine zones. Areas where pests, diseases and weeds may spread on land depend on transport pathways, biophysical characteristics and land useattributes. There is currently no broadly accepted, user-friendly methodology or tool that assists decision makers in determining high priority locations of potential establishment in terrestrial environments. Similarly, there is no consensus in the scientific community about the best way to identify high-risk pathways and high risk zones for establishment for marine pests.
These two seemingly disparate operational areas require application of a related set of analytical tools known as spatial statistical models or species pathway and distribution models. The aim of this project is to complete a scoping study to compare a number of models with the aim to identify a robust method or set of methods - those that provide a sufficiently accurate assessment of species distribution, potential establishment sites or high-risk pathways, and that can be used by non experts to produce practical outcomes for decision makers.