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Canadian Food Inspection Agency Science Symposium

As a representative of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and the CRCNPB, Darren travelled to Ontario to take up an invitation to present at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Science Symposium entitled Better Models - Better Assessments: The Use of Models in Plant Health and Biotechnology Risk Assessment. This symposium was hosted by the CFIA’s Plant and Biotechnology Risk Assessment Unit, and took place at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa on 22-23 February 2011.

The two-day meeting presented an excellent opportunity to discuss the work being done by the CRCNPB - Understanding and responding to the risks associated with climate change and plant biosecurity (CRC10071) - with respect to the development, assessment and communication of pest risk models to diverse government and community stakeholders. The paper Darren presented was very well received. Darren was dismayed to note the number of presentations involving the use of inappropriate methods for pest risk assessment. This situation highlights the need for ongoing scientific discourse on the issues, pitfalls and solutions for pest risk assessment.

One standout positive benefit of this meeting was the discussions that Darren had with Town Peterson form Kansas University. Town is an experienced and influential ecological modeller. Darren and Twon found a great deal of common ground understanding the scientific problems with model transferability: in Town's case for exploring climate change impacts on species of conservation concern, and in Darren's for assessing pest risk on different continents, and under future climates. Town invited Darren to visit his lab to collaborate on addressing several vexing issues in ecological niche modelling.

A second benefit of this visit was the opportunity to harness some of the effort that CFIA will expend on writing up this workshop, and using it as a contribution to the Practitioner’s Guide for pest Risk Modelling and Mapping. This is an initiative of the CRCNPB and the International Pest Risk Modelling Workgroup.


When: February 2011

Darren Kriticos represented the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences when he travelled to Ontario to present at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Science Symposium.