2012 - present Curator of orthopteroid insects and Wallace collections, Life Sciences
Department, Natural History Museum, London.
2003 - 2012 Curator of orthopteroid insects, Entomology Department, Natural History
2001 - 2002 Research Entomologist, Entomology Department, Natural History Museum,
1996 - 2000 Research Assistant, Entomology Department, Natural History Museum,
1991 - 1995 PhD - Studies on the ecology and evolution of Neotropical ithomiine
butterflies (Nymphalidae: Ithomiinae) - Imperial College of Science,
Technology & Medicine, University of London.
1988 - 1991 BSc Hons (1st Class) (Zoology) - Imperial College of Science, Technology
and Medicine, University of London.
The curation, conservation and documentation of the NHM's collection of orthopteroid insects:
I am very interested in the taxonomy and systematics of cockroaches (Blattodea), especially the tribe Gromphadorhini, the Madagascan hissing cockroaches. I am the creator and editor of the Blattodea Species File Online (BSF), a comprehensive online synonymic catalogue of world cockroaches, which contains approximately 6,420 scientific names (all ranks, valid and not valid). In 1986 I helped to establish the Blattodea Culture Group, a non-profit-making society whose aim is to encourage the study of world cockroaches. I am the deputy editor of the Group's journal, Cockroach Studies, which publishes articles about the taxonomy, ecology and biology of cockroaches (a pdf copy of the first issue is available to download PDF 5.7 Mb) and I also help to manage the Groups' website and the Forum.
Another of my interests is the life and work of the neglected co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. In 1999 I set up the A.R. Wallace Memorial Fund which has restored his grave in Broadstone (Dorset) and erected memorials to commemorate him at his birthplace and elsewhere. I am currently doing historical research on his insect specimens, especially on his specimen labels.
In 2002 I played a key role in helping the NHM Library acquire a very important collection of Wallace’s manuscripts, books and insect specimens from his surviving family, and in 2006 I initiated the NHM library's project to acquire the largest collection of Darwin-related publications ever assembled (3,500 items). At £985,000, the Kohler Darwin Collection is the biggest purchase of any collection in the Museum's 125-year history.
In the past I done work on the evolution of mimicry, macroecological patterns in butterfly-hostplant relationships, and novel methods to quantify the diet breadths of phytophagous insects. I also designed, and am still responsible, for the LepIndex database: a uniquely comprehensive on-line synonymic catalogue of the living and fossil butterflies and moths of the world (see LepIndex). LepIndex is by far the largest contributor of names to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System-Species 2000 Catalogue of Life (253,680 of 1,009,000 in the Catalogue of Life, i.e. about 25%, are taken from Lepindex). My Blattodea Species File database supplies the cockroach names listed in the Catalogue.