Kerryne Graham

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TAPPAS – A web-based application incorporating wind-borne dispersal into biosecurity risk modelling

Kerryne Graham, Spatial Analyst, CSIRO


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Things You Will Learn

  1. Identifying likely events of wind dispersion for specific pests and pathogens plays an important role in ensuring Australia’s biosecurity preparedness.
  2. Spatially explicit applications will drive biosecurity preparedness, when combined with multiple methods of surveillance.
  3. The benefits of using open-source software platforms –transparency, portability, accessibility
  4. Effectiveness of collaborating with experts from widely differing domain (meteorology, computer science, veterinary science, agriculture, spatial scientists etc.)

Target Audience

Biosecurity managers , plant/animal researchers, forestry staff, and health professionals where the spread of particles are important.


Presentation Overview

Wind is an important pathway for pest spread, both into and within Australia. A wide range of biosecurity threats can be dispersed by wind, including pests, pathogens (like fungal spores and viruses) and disease vectors (like aphids, mosquitoes and midges) that are important to agriculture, animal production and human health. Modelling windborne dispersal is important when designing surveillance programmes and eradication responses for pests for which wind is an important dispersal mechanism. A wide range of simulation models are available that combine atmospheric physics with outputs from global atmospheric circulation models to reconstruct or predict wind-borne particle movement. However, these mostly require considerable expertise and time to use. Also, most are designed for tracking point-source pollutants. This means that modelling widely dispersed pests is difficult, and the biology of the organism, such as survival in the air column, is not explicitly considered. We have developed a new application called TAPPAS: the Tool for Assessing Pest or Pathogen Airborne Spread to overcome these barriers.

It has been developed in collaboration with Bureau of Meteorology to analyse long distance wind dispersal risks of biosecurity threats. Users can conduct sophisticated analyses through a web-browser, with simulations being undertaken on a supercomputer using global wind data and the dispersal model HYSPLIT, with synthesis dispersal maps being returned. Analyses can include forward projections (what areas are at risk given the current distribution of a pest?) and backward projections (where might a new incursion have arrived from?). This presentation will include a demonstration of TAPPAS, and provide an overview of how TAPPAS can guide surveillance and eradication efforts.


Kerryne Graham (Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO) is a Spatial Analyst with a research interest in surveillance systems, and the environmental and climatic drivers for infectious disease emergence. Current research includes the design and implementation of TAPPAS, analysis of seasonality and surges for the emergence of MERS-CoV, and modelling habitat, suitability and response of various invasive/endemic species.