Dr Darren Francis Ward

BSc Honours (Otago); MSc (La Trobe); PhD (Auckland)

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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current

Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Conservation

I study the biology of insects, especially Hymenoptera (ants, bees, social and parasitoid wasps)

My main interests are insect diversity across different landscapes; invasive species; and taxonomy.

Currently I am interested in compiling and using big datasets to answer environmental questions, and particularly using historical information from natural history collections, such as insect decline, and spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity.


Please contact me if you are interested in a research project on Hymenoptera, or other groups of insects.

I work at Landcare Research, but have a joint appointment with the University, and have an office at the University of Auckland Tāmaki Innovation campus (building 733).

There are also volunteer opportunities at the New Zealand Arthropod Collection. Based at Tāmaki, this is the largest collection in NZ, with over 1 million invertebrates. If you are interested in entomology and would like a career in this discipline, then volunteering some of your time can lead into summer scholarships and graduate projects.

Teaching | Current

Entomology 320

Terrestrial Ecology 396

Post-grad Entomology 730

Post-grad Biosecurity & Conservation 747

Postgraduate supervision


Anna Probert (co-supervisor). 2018. Assessing biosecurity risks to native ecosystems

Hester Williams. Current. Establishment and eradication of plant pests

Melissa Kirk. Current. Rapid evolution of plant-insect interactions

Julia Schmack (co-supervisor). Current. Control and eradication of Vespula wasps

Rebecca Le Grice (co-supervisor). Current. Invertebrate diversity of seaside wrack


Simon OConnolly. 2019. Application of museum data for insect conservation

Kaavya Benjamin. 2019. Assessing the vulnerability of New Zealand natural ecosystems to exotic insects

Kiran Horrocks (co-supervisor). 2018. Biotic resistance to future pest incursions

Zane McGrath. 2017. Quantifying the ecological risk of exotic species

Keely Paler. 2017. The responses of alpine beetles to climate change

Delayn Fritz. 2017. Filters along the invasion pathway

Melissa Kirk. 2017. Establishment of invasive invertebrates within NZ

Tom Saunders. 2016. Optimal sampling for parasitoid diversity

Ming Lee (co-supervisor). 2016. Control of greenhouse whitefly

Liam Kendall. 2015. Parasitoid diversity in forest ecosystems

Emma Edney-Browne. 2015. Pattern of establishment of exotic invertebrates

Thomas Goodman (co-supervisor). 2012. Coexistence in ant communities invaded by the ecologically dominant Argentine ant

Jarrod Thompson (co-supervisor). 2010. Interactions among ant species of the Auckland region, New Zealand

Publications from Student Projects

Horrocks KJ, Ward DF, Suckling DM. 2019. Can natural enemies of current insect pests provide biotic resistance to future pests. Agricultural & Forest Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/afe.12353

Saunders TE & Ward DF. 2018. Variation in the diversity and richness of parasitoid wasps based on sampling effort. PeerJ 6:e4642 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4642

Edney-Browne E, Brockerhoff EG, Ward DF. 2018. Establishment patterns of exotic insects in New Zealand. Biological Invasions. 20(7), 1657-1669. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-017-1652-5

Saunders TE, Ward DF. 2017. A new species of Lusius (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist. 40: 72-78. 10.1080/00779962.2017.1357427

Kendall L, Ward DF. 2016. Habitat determinants of the taxonomic and functional diversity of parasitoid wasps. Biodiversity & Conservation. 25(10), 1955-1972

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Quicke, D. L. J., Ward, D. F., & Butcher, B. A. (2019). First host record and morphological notes on the rare Chilean wasp Vervoortihelcon scaramozzinoi van Achterberg (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Helconinae,Vervoortihelconini). JOURNAL OF HYMENOPTERA RESEARCH, 68, 13-16. 10.3897/jhr.68.32954
  • Bartomeus, I., Stavert, J. R., Ward, D., & Aguado, O. (2018). Historical collections as a tool for assessing the global pollination crisis. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374 (1763).10.1098/rstb.2017.0389
  • Quicke, D. L. J., Belokobylskij, S. A., Ward, D. F., Hebert, P. D. N., & Butcher, B. A. (2018). Revision of the endemic New Zealand braconid wasp genus Metaspathius: new subfamily placement, and descriptions of four new species including three with fully winged females (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Mesostoinae). NEW ZEALAND ENTOMOLOGIST, 41 (2), 46-65. 10.1080/00779962.2018.1551707
  • Edney-Browne, E., Brockerhoff, E. G., & Ward, D. (2018). Establishment patterns of non-native insects in New Zealand. Biological Invasions, 20 (7), 1657-1669. 10.1007/s10530-017-1652-5
  • Khalaim, A. I., & Ward, D. F. (2018). Tersilochinae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) from New Zealand. Part 1. Generic key and three new genera. Zootaxa, 4425 (1), 41-77. 10.11646/zootaxa.4425.1.3
  • Bertelsmeier, C., Ollier, S., Liebhold, A. M., Brockerhoff, E. G., Ward, D., & Keller, L. (2018). Recurrent bridgehead effects accelerate global alien ant spread. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (21), 5486-5491. 10.1073/pnas.1801990115
  • Seebens, H., Blackburn, T. M., Dyer, E. E., Genovesi, P., Hulme, P. E., Jeschke, J. M., ... Winter, M. (2018). Global rise in emerging alien species results from increased accessibility of new source pools. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (10), E2264-E2273. 10.1073/pnas.1719429115
  • Hartnett, D. E., MacDonald, F. H., Martin, N. A., Walker, G. P., & Ward, D. F. (2018). A survey of the adventive parasitoid Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and native larval parasitoids of native Lepidoptera. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 1-15. 10.1080/03014223.2018.1426021


Contact details

Office hours

Senior Lecturer in Entomology

Email: wardda@landcareresearch.co.nz

Primary office location

TAMAKI BUILDING 733 - Bldg 733
Level 1, Room 101
New Zealand

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