Current position

  •  Head of Research Unit Forest Health and Biotic Interactions, WSL
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (since 2014)
  • Adjunct Lecturer (Dozent), Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland (since 2021)

Previous positions

  • 1998 - 2019  Principal Scientist / Senior Scientist / Scientist, New Zealand Forest Research Institute (Scion), Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 1998  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Horticultural Research Institute of New Zealand, Lincoln, New Zealand
  • 1994 - 1997  Research Assistant, Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
  • 1991 - 1994  Research Assistant, CABI-Bioscience (IIBC), Delémont, Switzerland


  • PhD in Forest Entomology/Forest Ecology, University of Toronto, Canada (graduated in 1998)
  • Diplom (MSc equivalent) in Biology (major: Zoology), University of Kiel, Germany (graduated in 1994)

Research interests and lab group

I am a forest ecologist and entomologist specialising in the ecology, impacts and management of non-native and native forest insects and other taxa. I am also passionate about the biodiversity of insects, birds, and vascular plants, and relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In recent years, much of my research has focussed on bark beetles and other wood and bark-boring insects, groups that include many of the highest-impact invaders of forests world-wide. Another key research interest is the role of forest biodiversity in the biotic resistance to insect pests and invasive species as well as other ecosystem services. Finally, I am also studying effects of land cover and land use change on insects, birds and plants.

I enjoy networking and collaborate with colleagues in many countries across the world. For example, I am working with colleagues in New Zealand’s Better Border Biosecurity (B3) Collaboration and in the international EU-funded project “HOMED”, and I participated in several collaborative projects at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS, University of California) and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC, University of Maryland) where I studied relationships between propagule pressure (i.e., arrival rates of non-native insects) and successful establishments.

In my lab at WSL, several postdocs, students, and I are working on projects on a range of topics including: a national surveillance programme for invasive forest insects with a focus on trees in urban environments (Benno Augustinus), insect invasions in terrestrial and freshwater habitats (Agnieszka Sendek), effects of bark beetle outbreaks and deadwood on woodpecker populations (Marco Basile), fungal associates of ambrosia beetles and bark beetles (José Correia), effects of drought on saproxylic insect assemblages (Timothy Work), and population genetics of bark beetles (Julia Kappeler and former MSc student Lea Bischofberger).

Other current and past activities

  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science (since 2019)

  • Associate Editor, Biodiversity and Conservation (since 2009)

  • Associate Editor and subject editor (Entomology), Forestry (Oxford University Press) (since 2013)

  • Editorial board member, New Zealand Entomologist (since 2010)

  • Board member, International Union of Forest Research Organisations, and Co-ordinator of IUFRO Division 7, Forest Health (2011-2021)

  • Coordinator, IUFRO Task Force on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (2013-2017), and Task Force member (2012-2013)

  • Member, IUFRO Task Force on Forests and Biological Invasions (2015-2018)

  • President of the Entomological Society of New Zealand (2007-2009) as well as Vice-president (2005-2007) and Immediate Past President (2009-2011)