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Improving risk prediction and reducing uncertainty pre-release for classical biocontrol agents (host testing)

Biosecurity outcome

  • New decision support tools for host testing and modelling to give EPA and DOC improved assurance and certainty in decision-making on the potential risk of non-target impacts from biocontrol agents (BCAs) prior to their release in New Zealand
    • These tools will incorporate new risk assessment data from sources such as improved host testing methods (e.g. olfactory/electrophysical bioassays) in containment and risk probability models

Science outcome

  • New knowledge from chemical ecology studies (i.e. olfactory response bioassays, electrophysiology) developed to identify and understand the factors contributing to a BCA’s (i.e. parasitoid) habitat/host preferences
  • Areas of uncertainty from previous BCA applications on the potential for non-target impacts of BCAs applications identified, collated and used to inform future research.

Key end users/stakeholders

Implementation: Analysis of uncertainty in EPA applications and improved predictability of biosafety will be available for use EPA and DoC to help focus initial interactions with prospective applicants including Māori and ultimately improved applications to EPA. Models can be adopted by EPA to build into their own internal risk assessment process.