Info-gap theory and robust design of surveillance for invasive species: the case study of Barrow Island

J Environ Manage. 2009 Jun;90(8):2785-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.03.011. Epub 2009 Apr 21.


Surveillance for invasive non-indigenous species (NIS) is an integral part of a quarantine system. Estimating the efficiency of a surveillance strategy relies on many uncertain parameters estimated by experts, such as the efficiency of its components in face of the specific NIS, the ability of the NIS to inhabit different environments, and so on. Due to the importance of detecting an invasive NIS within a critical period of time, it is crucial that these uncertainties be accounted for in the design of the surveillance system. We formulate a detection model that takes into account, in addition to structured sampling for incursive NIS, incidental detection by untrained workers. We use info-gap theory for satisficing (not minimizing) the probability of detection, while at the same time maximizing the robustness to uncertainty. We demonstrate the trade-off between robustness to uncertainty, and an increase in the required probability of detection. An empirical example based on the detection of Pheidole megacephala on Barrow Island demonstrates the use of info-gap analysis to select a surveillance strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geography
  • Models, Theoretical