Expanding general surveillance of invasive species by integrating citizens as both observers and identifiers (2020)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
AuthorsPawson SM, Sullivan JJ, Grant Ashow all
Expanding general surveillance activities can improve the detection of invasive species when eradication remains feasible. Traditionally citizens report observations to government agencies and mobile-phone-based tools provide incremental submission and processing efficiencies. However, citizen-reported data has a high proportion of false positives and diagnostics labs are not resourced to process large observation volumes. We demonstrate ‘Find-A-Pest’ a partnership model whereby citizens, including Māori groups, and industry representatives both contribute observations and undertake identifications. We combine a mobile-phone-based app, database, and content management system with data linked to iNaturalist NZ. We present data from a 3.5-month period of case studies that assessed the effectiveness at delivering improved general surveillance outcomes. Installed by 497 users, there were 471 observations of 176 taxa submitted by 74 individuals. In combination citizen and industry identifiers processed 99% of observations with only 1% (5 submissions) forwarded to Biosecurity New Zealand. Citizens’ identifications were comprehensive and rapid: 79.4% of submitted observations were identified by citizens with 57.3% and 95.4% of these processed within an hour or day, respectively. Citizen identifications were correct 95.5% of the time. Many observations (56.1%) were of high priority species profiled as in app fact sheets. Find-A-Pest demonstrates that general surveillance partnership can effectively distribute identification effort thereby reducing false positive loads within government diagnostics labs. Find-A-pest was stable, robust, and endorsed as fit for purpose by users. Achieving biosecurity outcomes, such as early detection to facilitate eradication, will require a much larger scale participation in Find-A-Pest. We suggest applying Behaviour Change Theory to expand participation across diverse groups in the future.
CitationPawson SM, Sullivan JJ, Grant A Expanding general surveillance of invasive species by integrating citizens as both observers and identifiers. Journal of Pest Science.
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Keywordsbiosecurity; passive surveillance; citizen engagement; invasive species; information systems; phone applications; crowdsourcing data
ANZSRC Fields of Research41 - Environmental sciences
31 - Biological sciences::3103 - Ecology