Island nations sharing expertise, not pests

Biosecurity research, training and education in Indonesia and Australia are set to benefit from a bilateral research agreement between five Indonesian research organisations and the Australian Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC), announced in April 2016.

The first project in the partnership is the development of a virtual diagnostic network using the Pestpoint software developed by the PBCRC.

Pestpoint is a social networking tool that allows groups of people to pool their expertise to collectively identify pests and diseases. The project will couple the Pestpoint software with a range of digital tools, including portable wireless microscopes, mobile devices, and the Centre’s remote microscope system.

This Remote Microscope Diagnostics Network will be set up in the four Indonesian universities, and will help collect data on the occurrence of pests in different areas, without the need for on-the-ground experts in all cases.

As a country made up of many islands, Indonesia must deal with the risks of invasive species that may tag along with trade and tourism. And any efforts to minimise the movement of unwelcome species within a country will also be beneficial to neighbouring countries—so the collaborative work of Australia and Indonesia on the project is hoped to benefit the wider Southeast Asia region.

The network—including Universitas Mahasaraswati Denpasar, Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Universitas Nusa Cendana, Universitas Sam Ratulangi, the Pacific Institute for Sustainable Development, and Australia’s PBCRC—will also facilitate the exchange of researchers, students, and research ideas between Indonesia and Australia.

Credit for banner image: Gary Kong, PBCRC.