Distinguished Professor Steve Wratten notches PhD supervision milestone

Professor Steve Wratten, the recipient of many awards in an illustrious academic career that has spanned almost five decades, is about to notch up another remarkable milestone.

When Lincoln University PhD students Emiliano Veronesi and Joel Faulkner achieve their PhD qualifications, they will be the 89th and 90th PhD students to have been supervised by Professor Wratten during their doctorates.

He will have guided those 90 PhD students through at least an accumulated 270 years of doctoral study.

Beginning his academic career as a lecturer in Zoology at London University in 1971, Professor Wratten moved to Cambridge University in 1972, lecturing in Applied Entomology. In 1975 he joined Southampton University as a lecturer in Biology, where he first supervised PhD students.

He moved to New Zealand and Lincoln University in 1993 and has become a Distinguished Professor of Ecology in the Bio-Protection Research Centre, hosted at Lincoln University. Continue reading

Distinguished professors to deliver public lectures at Lincoln University

Lincoln University has bestowed the title of Distinguished Professor on Professors Philip Hume and Steve Wratten, of the Bio-Protection Research Centre.

To acknowledge and celebrate the bestowals, each professor will give a public lecture on campus.

Distinguished Professor Philip Hulme will present his Royal Society Te Aparangi 2018 Leonard Cockayne lecture, entitled ‘Ornamental to detrimental: The invasion of New Zealand by non-native plants’ on May 9.

Distinguished Professor Steve Wratten will present a lecture entitled ‘Future Farming, Future Food’ on May 30/ More details will be announced closer to that date.

Click here to register for Distinguished Professor Philip Hulme’s lecture.

When: Thursday 9 May 2019
Where: Lincoln University Stewart Building, Lecture Theatre One
Doors open: 5.30pm for a 6pm start

Refreshments and nibbles will be provided, with alcoholic beverages available from a cash bar.

Source: Lincoln University.

Lincoln professor is honoured for science communication

Professor Steve Wratten, a Principal Investigator at the Bio-Protection Research Centre and Professor of Ecology at Lincoln University, has won the John Taylor Award for leadership in horticulture.

The award from the Canterbury Horticultural Society was given for his ability to communicate complex ideas to the non-scientific community.

“In doing so, people have become empowered to make a difference at a local level, which in time becomes regional, national and international,” his citation reads.

“His research and dissemination of knowledge to horticulturists and gardeners has and will continue to enable people to follow his lead and improve our production systems.”

Professor Wratten, a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, specialises in biological control of pests. He advocates using companion planting to provide SNAP (Shelter, Nectar, Alternative food, and Pollen) for the natural enemies of insect pests.

He used this method to develop the Greening Waipara programme, which uses native plants to control pests and increase biodiversity in North Canterbury vineyards.

Accepting the award, Professor Wratten said university researchers had to produce both outputs, such as scientific publications, and outcomes, which were about making a difference – in this case to gardeners and professional horticulturalists.

Source:  Bio-Protection Research Centre

Sundar helps change Nepalese agriculture

PhD student Sundar Tiwari’s PhD research is helping to change the face of Nepalese agriculture.

Sundar, who comes from a rural Nepalese village, did his BSc and MSc in agricultural entomology at Tribhubhan University, Nepal. He works as an assistant professor at the Nepal Agriculture and Forestry University, focusing on integrated pest management

With the help of a PhD scholarship from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sundar joined the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University in 2016 and began research into sustainable intensification of Nepalese agriculture.

In his New Zealand-based research Sundar is seeking an alternative approach to pest management, looking to identify “trap plants” that can draw the wheat bug (Nysius huttoni) away from kale seedlings.

His experiments show that the popular garden plant alyssum (Lobularia maritima) has the highest potential as a trap plant for the bug, and it also provides many other ecosystem services (such as providing nectar for beneficial insects).

Working in Nepal on radish crops, he showed how to reduce aphid populations without pesticides, using alyssum flower strips around the fields.

“This technique is very simple and poor farmers can easily adopt it, especially because it costs less than using pesticides,” Sundar says.

Sundar has introduced many Nepalese farmers, students, and others in the agriculture sector to the concept of habitat management and multiple ecosystem services, and his work is influencing Nepalese agricultural policy.

“This work in my home country has made a real difference and is one of the many factors which have made my PhD training at Lincoln University so enjoyable,” he says.

Sundar’s supervisor is Professor Steve Wratten; his co-supervisor is Professor Nick Dickinson.

Source:  Lincoln University