2013 – present
Curator of Odonata, Embioptera, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Mecoptera, Megaloptera, Raphidioptera and Trichoptera in the Department of Life Sciences at the Natural History Museum, London.
2011 – 2013
NSF funded Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Simon Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, USA.
2010 – 2011
SABI funded Post-Doctoral Fellow, Albany Museum, South Africa.
Doctor of Philosophy: Entomology; conferred 04/2010; Rhodes University, South Africa.
Bachelor of Science Honours: Entomology; with distinction; conferred 04/2005; Rhodes University, South Africa.
Bachelor of Science: Entomology and Zoology; double distinction; conferred 04/2004, Rhodes University, South Africa.
I have presented my research at the following national and international conferences:
2013: Entomology Collections Network & Entomological Society of America, Austin, USA
2011: Evolution, Norman, USA; Southern African Society for Systematic Biology, Grahamstown, South Africa
2009: South African Society of Systematic Biologists Forum, Durban, South Africa
2008: Evolution, Minneapolis, USA; International Congress of Entomology, Durban, South Africa; South African Society of Systematic Biologists Forum, Bloemfontein, South Africa
2007: Evolution, Christchurch, New Zealand; Zoological Society of Southern Africa, Potchefstroom, South Africa
2006: Southern African Society for Systematic Biology, Kruger National Park, South Africa
2005: Entomological Society of Southern Africa, Grahamstown, South Africa
I'm the Curator of Odonata and “Small Orders” comprising: Embioptera, Ephemeroptera, Mecoptera, Megaloptera, Neuroptera, Plecoptera, Raphidioptera and Trichoptera and totalling approximately 500,000 specimens. My current curatorial focus is on standardizing the curation techniques between my orders. Once this is done I can focus on a specimen level database of the collection with the long term goal being a collection which is fully incorporated into the online accessible Museum database and digitized using high resolution macro imaging.
I aim to continually increasing the collection through targeted fieldwork, donations, exchanges and through active taxonomic work on the collections by researchers around the world. In addition to the identified material, the collection contains a large amount of unidentified material which needs examination and incorporation into the main collection.
The current emphasis is on upgrading the collection, re-housing specimens in unit trays, bringing together specimens from the old 'accessions' material and the main collection, updating the collection database and an overhaul of the layout of the collection to better reflect modern taxonomy. Once this is completed I aim to use Gigapixel imaging technology to provide the research community with high resolution images of the material housed in the collection, enabling researchers from around the world unlimited access to the knowledge housed in the collection.
In collaboration with researchers from South Africa, India, China and the United States I am actively engaged in research on a variety of Insect groups.
The insect order Megaloptera is considered one of the most primitive of the holometabolous insect orders and comprises two families: Sialidae & Corydalidae. The Corydalidae are divided into two subfamilies: Chauliodinae and Corydalinae. Globally there are about 300 extant species. The aim of this project is to review the currently know species and describe species new to science as found. Once the taxonomy has been updated the origin and diversification of the group can be examined using both morphological and molecular markers. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Xingyue Liu (China Agricultural University, Beijing), Dr. Ferdy de Moor (Albany Museum, Grahamstown), Prof. Martin Villet (Rhodes University, Grahamstown), Prof. Fumio Hayashi (Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo) and Prof. Ding Yang (China Agricultural University, Beijing).
More information can be found here: Afrotropical Megaloptera
The damselfly family Synlestidae is currently believed to be comprised almost entirely of endemic taxa found only in the Caribbean, China, eastern Australia and South Africa; a pattern of isolated endemism across four continental faunas which suggests a relict and ancient lineage. The synlestids are recognised as part of the lestoid radiation and current morphological and molecular evidence places them near the Lestidae, Perilestidae and Hemiphlebiidae. This project is in collaboration with Prof. Martin Villet (Rhodes University, Grahamstown).
More information can be found here: Synlestidae
Only one species of cased caddisfly (Barbarochthon brunneum Barnard, 1934) has been described in the family Barbarochthonidae and it is endemic to South Africa. The aim of the study is to assess the population structure of the species using DNA isolated from larvae and to assess if this is a widespread species or a complex of cryptic species requiring further morphological examination. This project is in collaboration with Garreth Keevey (Rhodes University, Grahamstown), Dr. Ferdy de Moor (Albany Museum, Grahamstown), Prof. Nigel Barker (Rhodes University, Grahamstown) and Prof. Martin Villet (Rhodes University, Grahamstown).
Cicadas are a relatively small family (~2500 species) of bugs (Insecta: Hemiptera) which have been shown to be useful organisms for examining the effects of distribution, plant association and geographical barriers on gene flow between populations. My research on the Cicadidae focusses on the Systematics and Taxonomy of the tribes Platypleurini (distributed throughout Africa and Asia) and Parnisini (distributed throughout southern Africa and South America). This project is in collaboration with Prof. Chris Simon (University of Connecticut, Storrs), Dr. Krushnamegh Kunte (National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore), Prof. Nigel Barker (Rhodes University, Grahamstown) and Prof. Martin Villet (Rhodes University, Grahamstown).
More information can be found here: Cicadidae
I have been very fortunate to receive research and travel funding from a variety of sources, including: