Dr Ben Courtney Stevenson

PhD, University of St Andrews

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I originally completed BSc (Hons; in statistics and psychology) and MSc (in statistics) degrees here at the University of Auckland. I then moved to the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, graduating with a PhD in statistics in 2016. I remained there for twelve months as a research fellow, before joining this department as a lecturer in January 2017.

Please see my personal webpage for further information.


Research | Current

I develop statistical methods and the associated software to estimate ecological parameters of interest, usually animal abundance or density. I am currently working on new spatial capture-recapture methods, and modelling uncertain animal identification on capture-recapture surveys.

Teaching | Current

Semester 1, 2019: STATS 330

Postgraduate supervision

To see a list of available available projects, click here. Some of these may not yet appear on the department's list.

Current students:


Pei (Zoe) Luo
Two-phase subsampling designs for DNA sequencing, with an application to the relatedness in endangered species
Co-supervisor: Thomas Lumley

David Chan
Advancing spatial capture-recapture methods for acoustic surveys of cetacean populations
Co-supervisor: Rachel Fewster

Markus Gronwald
Behaviour of invasive rat species in low population densities on islands
Primary supervisor: James Russell

BSc (Hons) and MSc

Rishika Chopara
That's not the Mona Lisa: How to interpret spatial capture-recapture density surface estimates

Lingyu Hao
A state-space model to evaluate ice hockey goaltender performance in the NHL

Jessie Colbert
Estimating whale distribution in the Hauraki Gulf via sighting data and sea surface temperature
Co-supervisors: Melissa Bowen (School of Environment) and Rochelle Constantine (School of Biological Sciences)

Jiyoung (Janice) Seo
A survival analysis for guinea pigs with dental disease

Zhenni Chao
Predicting E. coli concentrations at freshwater swimming sites

Areas of expertise

Ecological statistics, capture-recapture methods, statistical computing, spatial point processes.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Jones-Todd, C. M., Caie, P., Illian, J. B., Stevenson, B. C., Savage, A., Harrison, D. J., & Bown, J. L. (2019). Identifying prognostic structural features in tissue sections of colon cancer patients using point pattern analysis. Statistics in medicine, 38 (8), 1421-1441. 10.1002/sim.8046
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45733
  • Stevenson, B. C., Borchers, D. L., & Fewster, R. M. (2019). Cluster capture-recapture to account for identification uncertainty on aerial surveys of animal populations. Biometrics10.1111/biom.12983
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Fewster
  • Baron, H. R., Leung, K. C. L., Stevenson, B. C., Sabater Gonzalez, M., & Phalen, D. N. (2018). Evidence of amphotericin B resistance in Macrorhabdus ornithogaster in Australian cage-birds. Medical Mycology10.1093/mmy/myy062
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/43676
  • Measey, G. J., Stevenson, B. C., Scott, T., Altwegg, R., & Borchers, D. L. (2017). Counting chirps: Acoustic monitoring of cryptic frogs. Journal of Applied Ecology, 54 (3), 894-902. 10.1111/1365-2664.12810
  • Kidney, D., Rawson, B. M., Borchers, D. L., Stevenson, B. C., Marques, T. A., & Thomas, L. (2016). An efficient acoustic density estimation method with human detectors applied to gibbons in Cambodia. PLoS ONE, 11 (5)10.1371/journal.pone.0155066
  • Fewster, R. M., Stevenson, B. C., & Borchers, D. L. (2016). Trace-contrast models for capture–recapture without capture histories. Statistical Science, 31 (2), 245-258. 10.1214/16-STS551
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33337
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Fewster
  • Borchers, D. L., Stevenson, B. C., Kidney, D., Thomas, L., & Marques, T. A. (2015). A Unifying Model for Capture–Recapture and Distance Sampling Surveys of Wildlife Populations. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 110 (509), 195-204. 10.1080/01621459.2014.893884
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33592
  • Stevenson, B. C., Borchers, D. L., Altwegg, R., Swift, R. J., Gillespie, D. M., & Measey, G. J. (2015). A general framework for animal density estimation from acoustic detections across a fixed microphone array. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 6 (1), 38-48. 10.1111/2041-210X.12291

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 303 - Bldg 303
Level 3, Room 326
New Zealand

Web links