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Charters Towers, Australia

Cooper A.,James Cook University | Goullet M.,Ferals Out | Mitchell J.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Ketheesan N.,James Cook University | Govan B.,James Cook University
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2012

The state of Queensland has the highest incidence of Q fever in Australia. In recent years, there has been an increase in human cases where no contacts with the typical reservoir animals or occupations were reported. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii in Australian native animals and introduced animals in northern and southeastern Queensland. Australian native marsupials sampled included the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and common northern bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus). Introduced species sampled included dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), cats (Felis catus), foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and pigs (Sus scrofa). Serum samples were tested by ELISA for both phase II and phase I antigens of the organism using an Australian isolate. The serological evidence of C. burnetii infection demonstrated in these species has public health implications due to their increasing movement into residential areas in regional Queensland. This study is the first known investigation of C. burnetii seroprevalence in these species in northern Queensland. © 2012 Cambridge University Press. Source

Panetta F.D.,Alan Fletcher Research Station | Cacho O.,University of New England of Australia | Hester S.,University of New England of Australia | Sims-Chilton N.,Alan Fletcher Research Station | Brooks S.,Tropical Weeds Research Center
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2011

Weed eradication efforts often must be sustained for long periods owing to the existence of persistent seed banks, among other factors. Decision makers need to consider both the amount of investment required and the period over which investment must be maintained when determining whether to commit to (or continue) an eradication programme. However, a basis for estimating eradication programme duration based on simple data has been lacking. Here, we present a stochastic dynamic model that can provide such estimates. The model is based upon the rates of progression of infestations from the active to the monitoring state (i.e. no plants detected for at least 12months), rates of reversion of infestations from monitoring to the active state and the frequency distribution of time since last detection for all infestations. Isoquants that illustrate the combinations of progression and reversion parameters corresponding to eradication within different time frames are generated. The model is applied to ongoing eradication programmes targeting branched broomrape Orobanche ramosa and chromolaena Chromolaena odorata. The minimum periods in which eradication could potentially be achieved were 22 and 23years, respectively. On the basis of programme performance until 2008, however, eradication is predicted to take considerably longer for both species (on average, 62 and 248years, respectively). Performance of the branched broomrape programme could be best improved through reducing rates of reversion to the active state; for chromolaena, boosting rates of progression to the monitoring state is more important. Synthesis and applications.Our model for estimating weed eradication programme duration, which captures critical transitions between a limited number of states, is readily applicable to any weed. A particular strength of the method lies in its minimal data requirements. These comprise estimates of maximum seed persistence and infested area, plus consistent annual records of the detection (or otherwise) of the weed in each infestation. This work provides a framework for identifying where improvements in management are needed and a basis for testing the effectiveness of alternative tactics. If adopted, our approach should help improve decision making with regard to eradication as a management strategy. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society. Source

Hester S.M.,University of New England of Australia | Brooks S.J.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Cacho O.J.,University of New England of Australia | Panetta F.D.,Alan Fletcher Research Station
Weed Research | Year: 2010

A simulation model that combines biological, search and economic components is applied to the eradication of a Miconia calvescens infestation at El Arish in tropical Queensland, Australia. Information on the year M. calvescens was introduced to the site, the number of plants controlled and the timing of control, is used to show that currently there could be M. calvescens plants remaining undetected at the site, including some mature plants. Modelling results indicate that the eradication programme has had a significant impact on the population of M. calvescens, as shown by simulated results for uncontrolled and controlled populations. The model was also used to investigate the effect of changing search effort on the cost of and time to eradication. Control costs were found to be negligible over all levels of search effort tested. Importantly, results suggest eradication may be achieved within several decades, if resources are increased slightly from their current levels and if there is a long-term commitment to funding the eradication programme. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 European Weed Research Society. Source

Bebawi F.F.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Campbell S.D.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Mayer R.J.,Maroochy Research Station
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2015

Understanding the reproductive biology of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton, an invasive weed of northern Australia, is critical for development of effective management strategies. Two experiments are reported on. In Experiment 1 seed longevity of C. procera seeds, exposed to different soil type (clay and river loam), pasture cover (present and absent) and burial depth (0, 2.5, 10 and 20cm) treatments were examined. In Experiment 2 time to reach reproductive maturity was studied. The latter experiment included its sister species, C. gigantea (L.) W.T. Aiton, for comparison and two separate seed lots were tested in 2009 and 2012 to determine if exposure to different environmental conditions would influence persistence. Both seed lots demonstrated a rapid decline in viability over the first 3 months and declined to zero between 15 and 24 months after burial. In Experiment 1, longevity appeared to be most influenced by rainfall patterns and associated soil moisture, burial depth and soil type, but not the level of pasture cover. Experiment 2 showed that both C. procera and C. gigantea plants could flower once they had reached an average height of 85cm. However, they differed significantly in terms of basal diameter at first flowering with C. gigantea significantly smaller (31mm) than C. procera (45mm). On average, C. gigantea flowered earlier (125 days vs 190 days) and set seed earlier (359 days vs 412 days) than C. procera. These results suggest that, under similar conditions to those that prevailed in the present studies, land managers could potentially achieve effective control of patches of C. procera in 2 years if they are able to kill all original plants and treat seedling regrowth frequently enough to prevent it reaching reproductive maturity. This suggested control strategy is based on the proviso that replenishment of the seed bank is not occurring from external sources (e.g. wind and water dispersal). © Australian Rangeland Society 2015. Source

Bebawi F.F.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Campbell S.D.,Tropical Weeds Research Center | Mayer R.J.,Maroochy Research Station
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2016

Chinee apple (Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.) is a thorny tree that is invading tropical woodlands of northern Australia. The present study reports three experiments related to the seed dynamics of chinee apple. Experiment 1 and 2 investigated persistence of seed lots under different soil types (clay and river loam), levels of pasture cover (present or absent) and burial depths (0, 2.5, 10 and 20cm). Experiment 3 determined the germination response of chinee apple seeds to a range of alternating day/night temperatures (11/6°C up to 52/40°C). In the longevity experiments (Expts 1 and 2), burial depth, soil type and burial duration significantly affected viability. Burial depth had the greatest influence, with surface located seeds generally persisting for longer than those buried below ground. Even so, no viable seeds remained after 18 and 24 months in the first and second experiment, respectively. In Expt 3 seeds of chinee apple germinated under a wide range of alternating day/night temperatures ranging from 16/12°C to 47 /36°C. Optimal germination (77%) occurred at 33/27°C and no seeds germinated at either of the lowest (11/6°C) or highest (52/40°C) temperature regimes tested. These findings indicated that chinee apple has the potential to expand its current distribution to cooler areas of Australia. Control practices need to be undertaken for at least two years to exhaust the seed bank. © Australian Rangeland Society 2016. Source

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