Steven Delean

Dr Steven Delean

Senior Lecturer

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Steven is a lecturer in Biostatistics and Ecology within the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide with responsibilities for coordinating undergraduate courses on quantitative analysis, as well as providing statistical support for the Honours and postgraduate programs across the School.

Steven has 25 years of experience in applying statistical and computational models to understand species dynamics and biodiversity patterns, with a focus on applied outcomes for species management. He is a consulting statistician across the research disciplines within the School of Biological Sciences, and collaborates as a consultant on Government and Industry projects, including advising on sampling design for biodiversity monitoring, and the management of over-abundant native and pest species.

Research Interest/Honours Project opportunities:

Research projects focus on applications of statistical ecology to understanding population ecology and community biodiversity.

Current areas of research with project funding include modelling movement patterns and habitat use in Kangaroo Island dunnarts, measuring the impacts of water flows and predators on fairy tern demography in the Coorong, using machine learning tools to measure body condition in migratory shorebirds, understanding long-term dynamics of biodiversity in semi-arid landscapes (including plant and animal systems).

Please contact me to discuss potential Honours and PhD projects.

Digging into the impacts of livestock grazing on soil fertile islands in arid South Australia with a 98 year livestock grazing exclosure (2023) FND001160: NFSA - Nature Foundation Scientific Expedition Foundation RL & GK Willing Grant (Greening R, Delean S, Facelli J) - $2000. The TGB Osborn Vegetation Reserve will be studied to determine if spatial patterns of soil nutrient accumulation and microbial community compositions are different between 98 years of livestock grazing exclusion vs areas grazed since the 1860's.

Using remote bio-acoustic recorders to detect Plains-wanderers (Pedionomus torquatus) in the semi-arid rangeland, South Australia (2022) 95981: NCSSA - Conservation Biology Grant (Gerhardy S, Delean S, Finlayson G, Olds L) - $3000. This project aims to strategically deploy a number of song meters through the South Australian landscape, to assist in the detection of critically-endangered Plains-wanderers and improve knowledge of their behaviour and ecology.

Little Corella Satellite Tracking and Wing Tagging (2021) FND000697: Department for Environment and Water-Research Grant (Cassey P, Delean S.) - $20,000. The aim of the project is to better understand the fine scale movements of the over abundant Little Corella in the Greater Adelaide and surrounding regions, with view to determining effective management options. The project will use both GPS tracking data and field observations to build models of population movement, foraging range, habitat preferences and other resource use.

Biodiversity conservation and management in the urban environments of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region (2020) FND000914: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board Incubator Funding (Cassey P, Delean S) - $75,000. This project is designed to leverage partnerships in order to better facilitate the resolution of wildlife conservation and management challenges of metropolitan Adelaide. It is a project that has drawn on urban biodiversity conservation and management approaches adopted in the eastern states, however the ultimate delivery of such a project is to be tackled in a way to best suit our local context. The project aims to focus on wildlife conservation and management issues that have very high levels of community interest and/or concern.

Towards integrated management of the Mount Lofty Ranges biodiversity hotspot (2016-17)
FND000166: University of Adelaide (Prowse T, Boulton R, O'Connor P, Delean S, Bardsley D) - Interdisciplinary Research Funding Scheme - $25,000.00

Koala population modelling for Kangaroo Island, SA (2016-17)
Consultancy to South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources - $50,000.00
Project to provide: (1) quantitative understanding of drivers of koala distribution and abundance, (2) spatially explicit density estimates, and (3) spatially explicit population model to determine sterilisation regimes and project response of koalas to climate scenarios, management interventions, and forestry maturation.

Kangaroo Island koala population modelling and management (2016)
Consultancy to South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources - $11,900.00
Updated stochastic population model to determine koala sterilisation targets on Kangaroo Island

Goat population trends in South Australia's rangelands (2014)
Consultancy to the Australian Landscape Trust - $15,000.00
Develop statistical models to determine large-scale spatio-temporal patterns of goat abundance in the rangelands of South Australia, and relationships with variation in harvest

Kangaroo Island koala population modelling and management (2013)
Consultancy to South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources - $12,972.00
Develop a stochastic population model to determine the minimum number of koalas that need to be sterilised to maintain a declining or stable koala population on Kangaroo Island


Steven is the Coordinator for the third-year Concepts in Ecology III and second-year Animal Identification II courses in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology discipline. Steven also lectures in the second-year BSc course Ecology II. Steve's teaching in Ecology includes theoretical quantitative ecology, practical workshops on ecological statistics, and field trips and camps.

Steven lectures and coordinates a series of quantitative training workshops for the first-year course Principles and Practices of Research I, as well as teaching into the combined Masters Bioinformatics and Systems Modelling and third-year Bioinformatics III course.

Current Teaching Schedule

ENV BIOL 3121 - Concepts in Ecology III

Ecology III addresses advanced ecological concepts across populations, communities and ecosystems, and examines various approaches to their studies, including experiments and models. It provides both an understanding of theoretical ecology as well as a foundation for ecological applications.

ENV BIOL 2502 - Ecology II & ENV BIOL 2005 - Ecology for Engineers II

Ecology II introduces the core principles of modern ecology, provides basic skills for the conduction of field studies, and fosters the development of the skills needed for the scientific analysis of ecological systems.

ENV_BIOL 2520 - Animal Identification II

This short intensive course, in the mid semester break, provides a basic understanding of the diversity of vertebrates and the policies, ethics and compliances associated with working on them. Specialist skills in the use of morphological, genetic and behavioural techniques used in the identification of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals will be taught. The course includes a 5-day field camp, during which field-based skills in trapping, handling, identification, tagging and collection of morphological data will be taught. This includes the use of modern techniques for remotely sensing the presence of wildlife.

SCIENCE 1300 - Principles & Practice of Research (Advanced) I

Science 1300 introduces students to the core principles of scientific research and research environments. It focuses on building a robust understanding of ethical scientific practices and includes interdisciplinary collaboration, group investigation, and best-practice data management.

Biotech 7005 - Bioinformatics and Systems Modelling & Bioinf 3000 - Bioinformatics III

Recent technological advances have brought large-scale DNA sequencing within the reach of small companies and research laboratories, and opened the door for research and applied uses for sequencing. This course teaches analysis of these data sets, and interpretation of the significance of the patterns found therein. This course provides an understanding of the specific considerations of different sequencing technologies, as well as an understanding of the algorithms used to align, assemble, and annotate sequence data.


  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Principal Supervisor Impacts of livestock on soil function and ecosystem services in South Australia's rangelands. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rebecca Rose Greening
    2022 Principal Supervisor The ecology, status, and distribution of Plains Wanderers in South Australia. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Saskia Gerhardy
    2020 Co-Supervisor Understanding the Contribution of Insectivorous Bats to Ecosystem Services in the Changing Landscapes of Fiji. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Adi Siteri Alisi Waqanivalukinaneni Tikoca
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Understanding movement processes underlying camera-trap data for reliable population inference Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Meryl Tze Yin Theng
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Resolving Conceptual Confusion and Quantifying Cross Taxa Patterns of Density Dependence in Population Ecology Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Salvador Herrando-Perez
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2013 - 2016 Arid Recovery Arid Recovery Scientific Advisory Committee Scientific research Australia
    2013 - 2016 Kangaroo Island Natural Resource Management GBC Recovery Team Conservation and environment Australia
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83138243
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83136222
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham, floor 1
  • Org Unit: School of Biological Sciences

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