In collaboration with the University of Canberra, the project compiled evidence to identify and assess particular ecosystem attributes expected to change in response to reductions in carp numbers such as native fish species diversity and abundance, aquatic flora, water quality, algal composition and biomass. Evidence was compiled using an expert elicitation process and a systematic review of literature. Evidence was synthesised using the EcoEvidence software. Models and scenarios were used to describe and communicate predicted impacts.
The Australian Government is considering options for safe release of the CyHV-3 carp virus. The effectiveness of the release of the virus is based on having a sound understanding of the likely impacts of any potential reductions in carp numbers both in terms of immediate effects and longer term ecological responses. There are many uncertainties in relation to the efficacy of the virus and ecological impacts given the complexity and high number of ecosystem variables operating in time and space .
Recognising and quantifying uncertainty around predicted impacts was a critical component of providing advice on release to the government and communication to managers and the general public. Evidence was used to underpin predictions of particular control scenarios on the effects on ecosystem attributes to assist the government in managing risk for the potential virus release.