Biogeochemical isotopes and trace elements as geo-location markers for biosecurity: can the technology determine the origin of pests?
Holder, Peter W.; Armstrong, Karen F.; Clough, Timothy J.; Frew, R.; Van Hale, R.; Baker, J. A.; Millet, M. A.
Stable isotope technology is being considered as a key geo-location biosecurity tool in New Zealand. Knowing whether an exotic pest specimen collected ‘post border’ is a new arrival, or part of a hitherto undetected established population, enables appropriate biosecurity response (i.e., enhanced surveillance vs an eradication campaign), potentially saving millions (Fig. 1). Stable isotope and trace element signatures have been used to trace the origin of a wide range of nonbiological and biological materials. However, the value of this technology is unproven in biosecurity applications, where the sample sizes are small and from an unknown and unpredictable place, time and host. Fundamental research, on how geo-location signatures are reflected in such insects is needed.... [Show full abstract]