Steve Pawson

Associate ProfessorSteve Pawson

School of Forestry Room 231
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

  • Pugh AR., Romo CM., Clare GK., Meurisse N., Bader MKF. and Pawson SM. (2023) Temperature Effects on the Survival and Development of Two Pest Bark Beetles Hylurgus ligniperda F. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Hylastes ater Paykull (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Environmental entomology 52(1): 56-66.
  • Bedoya CL., Nelson XJ., Brockerhoff EG., Pawson S. and Hayes M. (2022) Experimental characterization and automatic identification of stridulatory sounds inside wood. Royal Society Open Science 9(7)
  • Kerr JL., Dickson G., O'Connor BC., Somchit C., Sweeney J. and Pawson SM. (2022) Effect of Host Volatile Release Rate and Racemic Fuscumol on Trap Catch of Hylurgus ligniperda, Hylastes ater (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and Arhopalus ferus (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 115(1): 168-177.
  • Bedoya C., Nelson X., Brockerhoff E., Pawson S. and Hayes M. (2021) Experimental characterization and automatic identification of stridulatory sounds inside wood.
  • 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 44(1): 1-8.