Remote Microscopy: A success story in plant biosecurity

Michael Thompson *1


1 CSIRO/CRC National Plant Biosecurity, PO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT, Australia

 Diagnostics is a critical first step in determining the significance of suspected biosecurity threats posed by emergency plant pests and other invasive pests and pathogens.  Remote Microscopy (RM) allows entomologists to interact in real time to identify pests and pathogens, viewing live high quality images via the internet in order to act, particularly in quarantine settings. The RM network has now expanded to include Thailand, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia with over 60 locations actively participating in identifications and using RM to educate and train each other.  With the release of the new Padil (www.padil.gov.au) has come the Remote Microscope Diagnostics (RMD) portal. This dynamic, adaptable, secure, Padil image and information integrated, freely available service facilitates the “Taxonomic Triage” process, from user to diagnosis and appropriate action. The RMD portal will also include delivery of the microscope feed itself, thus eliminating many of the troublesome IT security issues that have plagued RM users in the past. The RMD portal allows users to upload information, GPS coordinates, images and video for action by a “Triage Officer” who will either identify the pest or utilize the extensive pool of taxonomic expertise found throughout the RM network and greater entomological community in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. The RMD portal will also allow the formation of “Triage Organisations” for application to specific lab groups or quarantine bodies, which will allow user group driven application and extensive domestic and international application. The dynamic design of the RMD portal and the extensive pool of expertise available has enhanced the diagnostic capacity of regional entomological communities in the form of identifications and the taxonomic triage process as well as in the realms of taxonomic training and the delivery of online training packages. 


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