Speaker: Jens Froese, CSIRO and University of Queensland
Title: Modelling habitat suitability and connectivity of feral pigs to aid biosecurity decisions
Date: 27 June 2016
Abstract: The feral pig (Sus scrofa) is one of Australia’s most notorious invasive species, causing a multitude of negative impacts on agricultural production, the environment and human and animal health. Each year, landholders, community groups, businesses, industry bodies and government at all levels invest considerably into active control, surveillance and research programs. Yet, surprisingly little is known about where such interventions should ideally be targeted to minimize impact at the regional scale. I will present some results from my PhD, in which I seek to identify at-risk areas for the establishment and spread of exotic animal diseases in northern Australia through spatially-explicit models of feral pig habitat suitability and connectivity under two seasonal scenarios. I will highlight methodological developments including Bayesian network models of habitat suitability, spatial analysis to integrate home range mobility and network graphs to model connectivity across multiple dispersal pathways. I will also touch on collaborations with CSIRO, where we used similar methods to investigate targeted feral pig management for diverse interest groups such as agricultural landholders, the pork industry or marine turtle conservationists.