Tag Archives: monitoring

pest monitoring

New pest monitoring start-up takes aim at fruit flies

Main Image: The team of scientists behind the RapidAIM pest monitoring system: Dr Nancy Schellhorn, Laura Jones, and Darren Moore.

RapidAIM is a real-time pest monitoring system which detects the presence and location of insect pests, cutting down the need for manual monitoring. The data service start-up was founded by agro-ecologist and entomologist Dr Nancy Schellhorn, electronics engineer Darren Moore and research technician Laura Jones within CSIRO. The research scientists have brought together their diverse skill sets across pest management, environmental monitoring and prototype development to develop a next-generation pest monitoring system.

Monitoring for fruit flies and other insect pests is presently done manually. Globally, millions of traps are monitored in crop production every 7-14 days. Manual monitoring is expensive and time-consuming, but essential for managing pest outbreaks. Fruit flies are a particularly costly biosecurity hazard, and are responsible for the yearly loss of US$30 billion of fruit and vegetable production.

Dr Schellhorn and the RapidAIM co-founders spoke to government biosecurity officers, growers and crop advisors to pinpoint the exact information the sector needed to improve pest monitoring strategies. “These insects are small, reproduce quickly and are highly mobile between habitats, so understanding their location and when they show up is pretty critical to delivering sustainable pest control,” explains Dr Schellhorn.

RapidAIM have developed the hardware and software for a grid of smart insect traps which detect the presence of insects and send the data to the cloud for analytics. An alert is then generated for end users through the mobile-linked app. “We use a novel, low-power sensor that provides a behavioural fingerprint of the insects, with real-time information about pest locations,” says Dr Schellhorn. The result is a map of thousands of traps providing accurate surveillance of insects. This helps crop growers respond rapidly in the occurrence of pest outbreaks.

The company has since received a $1.25 million investment from Main Sequence Ventures through the Coalition Government’s CSIRO Innovation Fund, and has also received support from CSIRO’s ON program.

RapidAIM is currently trialling a Beta version of the smart traps in five locations across Australia, working with some of the biggest fruit growers and state agencies, commercial partners and horticultural providers. The trials will compare the automated traps to the currently used manual traps in locations in SA, WA, NSW, VIC and Tasmania.

“We want to work closely with our potential customers so that we deliver a product of value’, says Dr Schellhorn.

The co-founding scientists are enjoying the challenge of bringing their vision to market. “We’re committed to making an impact with our science,” says Dr Schellhorn. “We believe that being involved in the full value chain of understanding the problem and the technology development is critical.”

Dr Schellhorn believes that “talking to potential customers was key in our current technology. The process has been a challenge, but it’s been great learning.”

– Larissa Fedunik

citizen science

Citizen data monitors coral bleaching

Featured image above: a volunteer monitors coral bleaching using Coralwatch’s citizen science survey. Credit: Coralwatch

Who did the research?

CoralWatch, based at the University of Queensland and funded by multiple external organisations.

What is the citizen science project about?

CoralWatch is a citizen data (‘citizen science’) initiative to monitor coral health worldwide. It is the first attempt at providing useful data on coral reef health at large scale with non-invasive tools. Scientists, school groups, dive centres and tourists can measure coral bleaching using the  Coral Health Chart – a simple plastic square – and add their data to the CoralWatch database.

Coral bleaching occurs when increased water temperatures causes coral to expel their symbiotic algae that help absorb nutrients and provide corals vibrant  colour. Rising sea temperatures due to climate change have caused unprecedented levels of coral bleaching.

 

What is the real-life data impact of the research or project?

Since CoralWatch started in 2002, over 146,000 corals from 1,228 reefs have been surveyed across 70 countries. This data is freely available online for use in scientific analysis and for educational purposes such as school projects.

Several studies have used the CoralWatch data to track the status of coral reefs around the world. The project has also been instrumental in raising public concern on the severity of the ecosystem crisis many reefs are undergoing, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Find out more – watch the CoralWatch video

 

Click here to visit the Coralwatch website.

Share your own story of data impact

Send ANDS your stories using the form on the main #dataimpact page, or help promote these stories on social media using the hashtag #dataimpact.

This article on citizen science was first published by the Australian National Data Service on 21 October 2016. Read the original article here.

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