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 enemies of pests. This approach restores and enhances ecosystem 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.