Steve Pawson

Senior LecturerSteve Pawson

Internal Phone: 90492
Biology is observational, students must be observant and research provides new ways to view the natural world, thus pushing knowledge frontiers.


Research Interests

I am active in the areas of Forest entomology, invasive species, biosecurity, biodiversity and ecosystem processes, using new technologies for active surveillance that informs incursion response and eradication.

My research has resulted in awards for new mobile electrophysiology equipment. I have developed new insect tracking (Harmonic Radar, Active transmitter, and retroreflective) methods for forest insects in collaboration with University of Canterbury College of Engineering. My interests include the ecological impacts of artificial light and forest management on invertebrates.

I am involved in citizen science and participatory networks, and have completed a Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and Curious Minds contestable projects to deliver Find-A-Pest a new mobile app for general surveillance reporting (

My interest and expertise extends to phytosanitary treatments (including heating, irradiation, ecological risk assessment and systems approaches) for biosecurity and market access. I apply Bayesian networks to ecological problems.

Recent Publications

  • Damken C., Sky A., Turner RM. and Pawson SM. (2021) True bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) associated with dead wood in exotic Pinus radiata plantations in New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist
  • Meurisse N., Pawson SM. and Somchit C. (2021) Bark beetles on pine logs: forecasting winter colonisation dynamics based on trap catches and temperature records. Journal of Pest Science 94(4): 1357-1373.
  • Pawson SM., Kerr JL., Kimberley MO., Meurisse N., Somchit C. and Wardhaugh CW. (2021) Large-scale, multi-year, phenology modelling of forest insects in Pinus radiata plantations. Journal of Pest Science 94(4): 1375-1392.
  • Seibold S., Rammer W., Hothorn T., Seidl R., Ulyshen MD., Lorz J., Cadotte MW., Lindenmayer DB., Adhikari YP. and Aragón R. (2021) The contribution of insects to global forest deadwood decomposition. Nature 597(7874): 77-81.
  • Turner RM., Brockerhoff EG., Bertelsmeier C., Blake RE., Caton B., James A., MacLeod A., Nahrung HF., Pawson SM. and Plank MJ. (2021) Worldwide border interceptions provide a window into human-mediated global insect movement. Ecological Applications 31(7)