Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1069–1086 | Cite as

Keeping ‘one step ahead’ of invasive species: using an integrated framework to screen and target species for detailed biosecurity risk assessment

  • Sunil K. SinghEmail author
  • Gavin J. Ash
  • Mike Hodda
Original Paper


Predicting which species will become invasive in each country or region before they arrive is necessary to devise and implement measures for minimising the costs of biological invasions. Metaphorically, this is keeping one step ahead of invasive species. A structured and systematic approach for screening large numbers of species and identifying those likely to become invasive is proposed in this paper. The Pest Screening and Targeting (PeST) framework integrates heterogeneous information and data on species biogeography, biotic and abiotic factors to first determine a preliminary risk index, then uses this index to identify species for a second, more detailed, risk evaluation process to provide a final ranking. Using the PeST framework, 97 species of plant-parasitic nematodes were evaluated for their biosecurity risks to Australia. The species identified as greatest risks included both previously unrecognised and currently-recognised species. The former included Heterodera zeae, Meloidogyne graminicola, M. enterolobii, M. chitwoodi and Scutellonema bradys, while the latter included Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, Ditylenchus destructor, Globodera pallida, Heterodera glycines and H. filipjevi. Of the ten criteria used in the PeST framework, emerging pest status, pathogenicity, host range and species biogeography most strongly influenced overall risk. The PeST framework also identified species where research to fill in critical knowledge gaps will be most beneficial (e.g. Globodera tabacum, Heterodera cajani, H. filipjevi, Meloidogyne ethiopica, Pratylenchus fallax and P. sudanensis). Where data were available, the information and associated metadata gathered for the PeST framework can be used to guide biosecurity decision making; determine species which require pre border certification and target sampling at the borders.


PeST framework Risk prioritization Screening tool Plant pathogens Emerging pests Plant-parasitic nematodes 



The authors would like to thank Dr Dean Paini (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences) for helpful discussions and assistance with SOM analysis. We are grateful to the following experts: Kerrie Davies (South Australia, University of Adelaide), Sharyn Taylor (Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Biosecurity), Lila Nambiar (Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industry), Vivian Vanstone and Sarah Collins (Western Australia, Department of Agriculture and Food), Hoong Pung (Tasmania, PERATCO Ltd), Barry Conde (Northern Territory, Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries), Loothfar Rahman (New South Wales, Department of Primary Industry), Farhat Shah (New Zealand, Plant and Food Research Ltd) and Nigel Bell (New Zealand, Ag Research); for participating in the email survey. We also thank John Roberts and Natalie Banks (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences) and three anonymous reviewers for reading and commenting on earlier versions of the manuscript. The authors acknowledge the support of the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centres program.

Supplementary material

10530_2014_776_MOESM1_ESM.docx (450 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 450 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sunil K. Singh
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Gavin J. Ash
    • 2
  • Mike Hodda
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (an alliance between Charles Sturt University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries)Wagga WaggaAustralia
  3. 3.Cooperative Research Centre for Plant BiosecurityBruceAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Biosecurity FlagshipCanberraAustralia

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