Dr. John Kean

Population Ecologist

E: john.kean@agresearch.co.nz

Research interests & activities

I’m a population ecologist with special interests in pest control and biosecurity. I use ecological modelling, statistics and probability theory to inform decision making for biocontrol, biosecurity risk analysis, surveillance and eradication.

Currently most of my research centres around border biosecurity. I lead the Surveillance theme in the Better Border Biosecurity (B3, b3nz.org) research collaboration, and have worked a lot on quantifying and optimising surveillance systems to detect invading pests early. I also use population modelling to inform eradication programmes, both real and theoretical. I have worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries during its eradications of painted apple moth, fall webworm, gypsy moth, Asian tiger mosquito, Queensland fruit fly and great white butterfly, among others.


2015 – present: Associate Editor for the journal Biological Invasions

2007 – present: Executive Committee member for the New Zealand Plant Protection Society.


Kean, J. M., Burnip, G. M., & Pathan, A. (2015). Detection survey design for decision making during biosecurity incursions. In F. C. Jarrad, S. J. Low-Choy, & K. Mengersen (Eds.), Biosecurity Surveillance: Quantitative Approaches (pp. 238–252). Wallingford, Oxfordshire, U.K.: CAB International. http://www.nhbs.com/biosecurity_surveillance_tefno_195073.html

Berec, L., Kean, J. M., Epanchin-Niell, R., Liebhold, A. M., & Haight, R. G. (2015). Designing efficient surveys: spatial arrangement of sample points for detection of invasive species. Biological Invasions, 17(1), 445–459. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-014-0742-x

Suckling, D. M., Kean, J. M., Stringer, L. D., Cáceres-Barrios, C., Hendrichs, J., Reyes-Flores, J., & Dominiak, B. (2015). Eradication of tephritid fruit fly pest populations: outcomes and prospects. Pest Management Science. http://doi.org/10.1002/ps.3905

Epanchin-Niell, R. S., Brockerhoff, E. G., Kean, J. M., & Turner, J. A. (2014). Designing cost-efficient surveillance for early detection and control of multiple biological invaders. Ecological Applications, 24(6), 1258–1274. http://doi.org/10.1890/13-1331.1

Tobin, P. C., Kean, J. M.>, Suckling, D. M., McCullough, D. G., Herms, D. A., & Stringer, L. D. (2014). Determinants of successful arthropod eradication programs. Biological Invasions, 16(2), 401–414. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-013-0529-5

Kean, J. M. (2013). How accurate are methods for predicting phenology in New Zealand? New Zealand Plant Protection, 66, 124–131. http://nzpps.org/nzpp_abstract.php?paper=661240

Epanchin-Niell, R. S., Haight, R. G., Berec, L., Kean, J. M., & Liebhold, A. M. (2012). Optimal surveillance and eradication of invasive species in heterogeneous landscapes. Ecology Letters, 15(8), 803–812. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01800.x

Kean, J. M., Suckling, D. M., Stringer, L. D., & Woods, B. (2011). Modeling the sterile insect technique for suppression of the light brown apple moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 104(5), 1462–1475. http://doi.org/10.1603/EC11086

Mills, N. J., & Kean, J. M.(2010). Behavioral studies, molecular approaches, and modeling: Methodological contributions to biological control success. Biological Control, 52(3), 255–262. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2009.03.018

Kean, J. M., & Suckling, D. M. (2005). Estimating the probability of eradication of painted apple moth from Auckland. New Zealand Plant Protection, 58, 7–11. http://nzpps.org/nzpp_abstract.php?paper=580070

Kean, J. M., & Barlow, N. D. (2004). Exploring rarity using a general model for distribution and abundance. American Naturalist, 163, 407–416.

Kean, J. M., Wratten, S. D., Tylianakis, J., & Barlow, N. D. (2003). The population consequences of natural enemy enhancement, and implications for conservation biological control. Ecology Letters, 6, 604–612.

Kean, J. M., & Barlow, N. D. (2000). Can host-parasitoid metapopulations explain successful biological control? Ecology, 81, 2188–2197.