Tools for detecting unwanted organisms in import pathways
Border biosecurity is a key issue for New Zealand and an essential requirement to maintaining our comparative freedom from insect pests affecting the natural environment, primary production and market access. With our growing international trade, preventing the arrival and establishment of pests is a challenge and requires effective management of import pathway risks. This project aimed to demonstrate proof of concept of the use of acoustics (sound, ultrasound) to detect unwanted organisms infesting incoming goods. Combining expertise in animal behaviour and physiology, acoustics, digital signal processing, embedded systems, and border biosecurity, we characterised the acoustic profiles of target insects and investigate their detectability under various conditions. Having obtained an acoustic profile for each target species we investigated the effect of attenuation of the signal in different substrates within which insects in incoming goods would be found (e.g., within wooden materials).
Funding: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, New Zealand