Ben Stevenson

Department of Statistics
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142
New Zealand

Office: Room 303.326
Phone: +64 9 923 8474

Research interests
  • Ecological statistics
  • Capture-recapture methods
  • Spatial point processes
  • Statistical computing


I am a lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, having joined in January 2017.

I originally completed BSc (Hons; in statistics and psychology) and MSc (in statistics) degrees at the University of Auckland. In 2016, I graduated with a PhD from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, completed under the supervision of Professor David Borchers. I remained there for twelve months as a research fellow, funded by the award of an EPSRC Doctoral Fellowship Prize.

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.

A comprehensive CV is available here.

Peer-reviewed publications

My Google Scholar citations page can be found here, and may be more up to date than the list below.
  • Stevenson, B. C., Bochers, D. L., and Fewster, R. M. (in press) Cluster capture-recapture to account for identification uncertainty on aerial surveys of animal populations. Biometrics. (link)

  • Baron, H. R., Leung, K. C. L., Stevenson, B. C., Sabater Gonzalez, M., and Phalen, D. N. (in press) Evidence of Amphotericin B resistance in Macrorhabdus ornithogaster in Australian cage-birds. Medical Mycology. (link)

  • Jones-Todd, C. M., Caie, P., Illian, J. B., Stevenson, B. C., Savage, A., Harrison, D. J., and Bown, G. L. (2019) Identifying prognostic structural features in tissue sections of colon cancer patients using point pattern analysis. Statistics in Medicine, 38(8), 1421–1441. (link)

  • Measey, G. J., Stevenson, B. C., Scott, T., Altwegg, R., and Borchers, D. L. (2017) Counting chirps: Acoustic monitoring of cryptic frogs. Journal of Applied Ecology, 54(3), 894–902. (link)

  • Kidney, D., Rawson, B. M., Borchers, D. L., Stevenson, B. C., Thomas, L., and Marques, T. A. (2016) An efficient acoustic density estimation method with human detectors applied to gibbons in Cambodia. PLoS ONE, 11(5), e0155066. (link)

  • Fewster, R. M., Stevenson, B. C., and Borchers, D. L. (2016) Trace-contrast models for capture-recapture without capture histories. Statistical Science, 31(2), 245–258. (link)

  • Borchers, D. L., Stevenson, B. C., Kidney, D., Thomas, L., and 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. (link)

  • Stevenson, B. C., Borchers, D. L., Altwegg, R., Swift, R. J., Gillespie, D. M., and 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. (link)

  • Stevenson, B. C., and Millar, R. B. (2013) Promising the moon? Evaluation of indigenous and lunar fishing calendars using semiparametric generalized mixed models of recreational catch data. Environmental and Ecological Statistics, 20(4), 591–608. (link)

You can find my PhD thesis here.

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

Click here for a list of available projects. This may include some projects that are not yet on the list on the department's webpage. Please e-mail me or drop by my office if you are interested.



The R package ascr fits a range of acoustic spatial capture-recapture models. Find its homepage here.

The R package palm fits various point processes via maximisation of the Palm likelihood, and is available on CRAN. Find its homepage here.

Other software projects can be found on my GitHub page; see the link above.