Predicting the Dynamic Spread of Invasive Termites

Agent-Based Simulation

Objectives

  • Develop a stochastic lattice-based model for simulating the dynamic spread of invasive termites
  • Compare lattice-based vs individual-based approach in terms of predictions and computational efficiency
  • Help regulatory agencies to identify possible infestation areas and develop successful early detection, quarantine, or eradication plans

Research Team

Francesco Tonini, Hartwig H. Hochmair, Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, Donald DeAngelis

Abstract

Spatially-explicit simulation models can help state and local regulatory agencies to predict both the rate and direction of the spread of an invasive species from a set of surveyed locations. Such models can be used to develop successful early detection, quarantine, or eradication plans based on the predicted areas of infestation. Individual-based models (IBMs) are often used to replicate the dynamics of complex systems and are both able to incorporate individual differences and local interactions among organisms, as well as spatial details. In this work, we introduce a new stochastic lattice-based model for simulating the spread of invasive termites over a landscape and compare it to a recently published stochastic individual-based approach, based on the same ecological parameters, with the goal of improving its computational efficiency. The two modeling frameworks were tested over a homogeneous landscape with randomly located sources of infestation. Further, the setting of a case study of an invasive termite, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky), was used to simulate the spread of the species in Dania Beach, Florida, U.S.A., and the results of the proposed model were compared with an earlier application of the IBM over the same area. The results show that the extent of the infested areas predicted by the new lattice-based model is similar, thus comparable, to the individual-based model while improving the computation time significantly. The simulation presented in this work could be used by the regulatory authorities to draw one or more areas of intervention instead of wasting resources by randomly surveying unknown perimeters.

 

Literature

  • Tonini, F., Hochmair, H. H., and Scheffrahn, R. H. "A space-time simulation model for termite dispersal in south Florida." July 2011. Paper presented at the ESRI International User Conference.
  • Tonini, F., Hochmair, H. H., Scheffrahn, R. H., and DeAngelis, D. L. (2013). Simulating the spread of an invasive termite in an urban environment using a stochastic individual-based model. Environmental Entomology, 42 (3 ), pp. 412-423. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN12325
  • Tonini, F., Hochmair, H. H., Scheffrahn, R. H., and DeAngelis, D. L. (2014). Stochastic spread models: A comparison between an individual-based and a lattice-based model for assessing the expansion of invasive termites over a landscape. Ecological Informatics, 24, pp. 222-230. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1574954114001277#
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