Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Fighting Crimes Against Biodiversity: How to Catch a Killer Weed

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2012) — Invasive species which have the potential to destroy biodiversity and influence global change could be tracked and controlled in the same way as wanted criminals, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Geographic profiling (GP) was originally developed as a statistical tool in criminology, where it uses the locations of linked crimes (for example murder, rape or arson) to identify the predicted location of the offender's residence. The technique is widely used by police forces and investigative agencies around the world.

Now, a team led by Dr Steven Le Comber from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has shown that this technique can also be used to identify the source of populations of invasive animals and plants such as Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed. ...

Writing in the journal Ecography, the team describe how they used computer simulations to compare GP to existing ways of monitoring invasive species. ... In both the computer simulations and the real datasets, GP dramatically outperformed other techniques, particularly as the number of sources (or potential sources) increased. Dr Steven Le Comber who led the study, explains:

"We found that existing methods performed reasonably well finding a single source, but did much less well when there were multiple sources -- as is typically the case as invasive species spread The results show that geographic profiling could potentially be used to control the spread of invasive species by identifying sources in the early stages of invasions, when control efforts are most likely to be effective."

Read the full story at Science Daily.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London



Don Williams said...

Nice article. Lion fish is killing us in the Caribbean and is multiplying exponentially. Good website, nice to see there are sites out there trying to fight invasive species.
Good work! Check out the Caribbean website: CIASNET

Bill Jacobs said...

Thanks for your comment, Don, and for the link to CIASNET.