Biography

I’m a zoologist, author and presenter/on-screen expert. I’ve been fascinated by animals for as long as I can remember, an interest that led to a prize-winning, first class degree in zoology at Bangor University and a PhD in insect ecology at the University of Leeds. I’m currently a visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds, a visiting fellow at the University of Essex and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. My scientific publications can be seen here.

As well as observing and studying the animals I can find here in the UK I’ve travelled widely in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Southeast Asia, ever searching for interesting and elusive beasts. I’ve always had a soft-spot for the arthropods, but the sheer diversity of animal forms and lifestyles mesmerises me, which was the motivation for my latest book – Animal Earth. This book is an unbiased exploration and celebration of animal diversity illustrated with more than 500 stunning images.

I’m enthusiastic to share my fascination for the incredible living things that surround us with anyone who will listen. I was part of an expedition to Burma with the BBC Natural History Unit as a presenter, the product of which was broadcast as the three part series – Wild Burma: Nature’s Lost Kingdom – on BBC 2 at the end of 2013. I have also featured as a presenter/on-screen expert on the CBBC series, Wild (live and recorded segments), the Sky 1 series, Extreme Fears, Extreme Cures where I helped ten arachnophobes overcome their fear and I have recently done some filming as an on-screen expert for a World’s Weirdest Events.

Here’s a recent interview from Mongabay where I discuss my introduction to zoology and Animal Earth. My work has been very widely covered in the media, some of which you can see here. In addition to the above, as my academic background is in ecological entomology and conservation I also undertake ecological surveys and provide advice on habitat creation.

As of 2015 I was awarded the Alumnus of the Year award by Bangor University and have since become a member of their alumni advisory board.  I am also a student mentor for the University of Leeds. Current projects include more book ideas, exploring insects as a source of novel pharmaceuticals and biomaterials (with David Wilcockson at Aberystwyth University), devising new techniques for sampling terrestrial arthropods and planning further expeditions.

Thanks to Patrick Avery, Anwar Mamon, Justine Evans and Adam Oldroyd for the images above.

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