Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Kiwi science at work on Aussie pest problems

Kiwi science at work on Aussie pest problems


New Zealand science that assists Australian farmers predict mouse outbreaks could soon be applied on this side of the Tasman.

MouseAlert (www.mousealert.org.au) is a new interactive website based on Google-type mapping technology allowing arable crop growers to record and view mouse activity in their local area in real time. It helps inform the community about changes in mouse numbers or damage, and when to implement control, sooner rather than later, before an outbreak causes severe damage to crops.

Landcare Research is providing expertise on building information from farmers into computer models that forecast outbreaks of mice, as part of a partnership with the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA-CRC) in Australia.

Researcher Roger Pech said the same technology could soon be applied to pest species in New Zealand including wasps, predators, pest birds, and possums.

“This sort of ‘citizen surveillance’ is a major component of what we proposed as part of the Bio-Heritage National Science Challenge. It’s very simple but incredibly useful.

“Not only does it get the public involved in science in a meaningful and enjoyable way, it builds up public awareness of biodiversity and pest species and then makes that same information available to researchers,” he says.

“Scientists can’t measure outbreaks of rodents or other pest species everywhere because the problem is too big and expensive so we’re looking to gather this information in a different way.

‘Citizen science’ and ‘citizen surveillance’ is being used more and more around the world.”

MouseAlert can be used with cell phones and other mobile devices in the field, and a community facility will enable farmers to create online groups and share observations of mouse activity among members. The next stage will be development of a notification system so members of a group can be alerted to changes in mouse activity in their local area as soon as it happens, enabling a
coordinated local response.

“MouseAlert combines some basic tools but we’ve never done this sort of thing across such large areas before,” Dr Pech says.

“Now we have all this information – people on the ground with their mobile phones or tablets, maps of soil and crop types, and information on temperature and rainfall. It means we can extend forecasts of pest outbreaks more widely which is exactly what farmers and land managers need.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Price Of Cheese: Dairy Product Prices Fall To The Lowest This Year

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, hitting the lowest level in the 2015 auctions so far, as prices for milk powder and butter slid amid concern about the outlook for commodities. More>>

ALSO:

Houston, We Have An Air Route: Air New Zealand To Fly Direct To The Heart Of Texas

Air New Zealand will fly its completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week opening up the state of Texas as well as popular nearby tourist states such as Louisiana and Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Reserve Bank’s Spencer Calls On Govt To Rethink Housing Tax

The Reserve Bank has urged the government to take another look at a capital gains tax on investment in housing, allow increased high-density development and cut red tape for planning consents to address an over-heated Auckland property market. More>>

ALSO:

The Nation: Call For Cross-Party Auckland Housing Plan

Penny Hulse calls for cross-party accord on Auckland housing because “it’s too important to score political points on”. More>>

ALSO:

Flu Season: Overcoming Vaccination Reluctance

While research shows that 40% of New Zealand businesses offer free or subsidised flu vaccinations to employees this time of year, HR professionals say persuading staff to participate is the biggest challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news