A Risk Assessment Method for Biological Introductions


This article describes an application of a method for assessing risks associated with the introduction of an organism into a new environment. The test organism was a binucleate Rhizoctonia fungal isolate that has potential for commercial development as a biological control agent for damping-off diseases in bedding plants. A test sample of host plant species was selected using the centrifugal phylogenetic host range principles, but with an emphasis on economic species. The effect of the fungus on the plant was measured for each species and expressed on a logarithmic scale. The effects on weights of shoots and roots per container were not normally distributed, nor were the effects on the number of plants standing (those which survived). Statements about the effect on the number standing and the shoot weight per container involved using the observed (empirical) distribution. This is illustrated with an example. Problems were encountered in defining the population of species at risk, and in deciding how this population should be formally sampled. The limitations of the method are discussed.

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Harris, A.R., Correll, R.L. & Adkins, P.G. A Risk Assessment Method for Biological Introductions. Risk Anal 19, 327–334 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007032124832

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  • Biological introductions
  • binucleate Rhizoctonia
  • biocontrol
  • risk assessment
  • seedlings
  • susceptibility