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Understanding the direct and indirect environmental impacts of biocontrol agent introductions to inform future decisions

Biosecurity outcome

  • A new tool will be developed from the analysis of previous biocontrol introductions to assist in predicting and evaluating both direct and indirect (e.g. food-web/ecological effects) risk from new organism introductions to assist DOC and EPA in their analysis of applications and provide EPA assurance and certainty in decision-making.
  • A new ‘scale of risk’ tool to assist in BCA risk prediction which will provide a comparative measurement of where on the continuum a new proposed BCAs is likely to fit.

Science outcome

  • New knowledge on the direct and indirect impact of BCAs based on food-web analysis
    • Case studies of post release impacts of recent introductions for Cotesia urabae and Irish Microctonus aethiopoides
    • New data sets for non-target host information: a) taxonomic collections (e.g. historic records of target and non-target effects, taxonomic literature); b) molecular evidence (host DNA from adult parasitoids) (STOPPED in June 2019)

Key end users/stakeholders

Implementation:  New knowledge and case studies to predict indirect effects of biological control agents post-release will inform EPA policy leading to better and more robust decision making by them in the HSNO context.