Steve Wratten

Steve Wratten's picture


Professor of Ecology
+64 3 423 0911
+64 3 325 3864
Lincoln University, Burns 514
Qualifications and affiliations: 
BSc, MA, DSc, DSc, PhD, FRSNZ, Professor of Ecology

Steve Wratten is a Professor of Ecology at Lincoln University, Principal Investigator in the Bio-Protection Research Centre, and a visiting professor at Charles Sturt University, Australia and at the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China. He has previously studied or worked at the Universities of Reading, Glasgow, London, Cambridge and Southampton (UK) and Oregon State University (USA).

Professor Wratten is a world-leading researcher in agro-ecology, with a focus on the biological control of pests. He is a proponent of using crop and non-crop plants to provide SNAP –  Shelter, Nectar, Alternative food and Pollen – to natural eneymies of pests. This approach restores and enhances ecosystem services or ‘nature’s services’ in agriculture, thereby improving the environment and enhancing biological control of pests.

He has pioneered the use of non-native and endemic New Zealand plant species in agriculture to enhance insect pest control and in this way reduce insecticide use. The methods developed by his team and trialled in the Waipara wine-growing region in Canterbury, New Zealand are now in use in every vineyard region in New Zealand and Australia, as well as regions of the United States and Europe.

Professor Wratten has published more about 400 journal articles, 8 books, 90 book chapters, and has supervised more than 80 PhD students to completion. He has published papers in high-profile journals, including Nature, Ecology, Ecology Letters and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. In 2014, he was named among the top 10 authors in the centenary editorial of the international journal Annals of Applied Biology (doi: 10.1111/aab.12093). Prof Wratten has contributed 38 papers to this journal since its inception.

He is an exceptional communicator of science and is frequently invited to speak at international conferences and workshops. He also writes for print media in New Zealand, and has a regular column in The Press, a daily newspaper with the largest circulation in the South Island.

Selected Publications: 

Day RL, Hickman JM, Sprague RI and Wratten SD. Predatory hoverflies increase oviposition in response to colour stimuli offering no reward: implications for biological control. Basic and Applied Ecology (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2015.05.004

Littlejohn CP, Curran TJ, Hofmann RW and Wratten SD (2015). Farmland, food and bioenergy crops need not compete for land. Solutions 6(3), June.

Boyer S, Cruickshank RH and Wratten SD (2015). Faeces of generalist predators as ‘biodiversity capsules’: a new tool for biodiversity assessment in remote and inaccessible habitats. Food Webs 3: 1-6 DOI: 10.1016/j.fooweb.2015.02.001

Sandhu H, Wratten S, Costanza R, Pretty J, Porter JR and Reganold J (2015). Significance and value of non-traded ecosystem services on farmland. PeerJ. 3:e762; DOI: 10.7717/peerj.762

Araj S-E and Wratten SD (2015) Comparing existing weeds and commonly used insectary plants as floral resources for a parasitoid. Biological Control 81: 15-20.

Porter JR and Wratten SD (2014). Move onto a carbon currency standard. Nature 506: 295.

Goldson SL, Wratten SD, Ferguson CM, Gerard PJ, Barratt BIP, Hardwick S, McNeill MR, Phillips CB, Popay AJ, Tylianakis JM and Tomasetto F (2014). If and when a successful classical biological control fails. Biological Control 72: 76-79.

Varennes Y-D, Boyer S and Wratten SD (2013). Un-nesting DNA Russian dolls – The potential for constructing food webs using residual DNA in empty aphid mummies. Molecular Ecology 23 (15): 3925-33 DOI: 10.1111/mec.12633

Wratten SD, Sandhu H, Cullen R and Costanza R (Eds) (2013). Ecosystem services in agricultural and urban landscapes. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK.

Gurr GM, Wratten SD, Snyder WE and Read DMY (Eds) (2012). Biodiversity and insect pests: Key issues for sustainable management. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester UK.