Quantifying the Establishment Likelihood of Invasive Alien Species Introductions Through Ports with Application to Honeybees in Australia

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Abstract

The cost of an uncontrolled incursion of invasive alien species (IAS) arising from undetected entry through ports can be substantial, and knowledge of port-specific risks is needed to help allocate limited surveillance resources. Quantifying the establishment likelihood of such an incursion requires quantifying the ability of a species to enter, establish, and spread. Estimation of the approach rate of IAS into ports provides a measure of likelihood of entry. Data on the approach rate of IAS are typically sparse, and the combinations of risk factors relating to country of origin and port of arrival diverse. This presents challenges to making formal statistical inference on establishment likelihood. Here we demonstrate how these challenges can be overcome with judicious use of mixed-effects models when estimating the incursion likelihood into Australia of the European (Apis mellifera) and Asian (A. cerana) honeybees, along with the invasive parasites of biosecurity concern they host (e.g., Varroa destructor). Our results demonstrate how skewed the establishment likelihood is, with one-tenth of the ports accounting for 80% or more of the likelihood for both species. These results have been utilized by biosecurity agencies in the allocation of resources to the surveillance of maritime ports.

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