Natural History Museum, London, Department of Life Sciences
Senior Curator, Algae, Botanical Collections
August 2011 – present day
Curator of Algae, Botanical Collections
September 2008 – July 2011
Bryophyte Digitisation Post
November 2005 – August 2008
The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Herbarium
November 2004 – October 2005
M.Sc. The Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants
The University of Edinburgh & The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
2003 – 2004
B.Sc. Ecology (Hons) 2:1
The University of Durham
2000 – 2003
As Curator of Algae I am responsible for the management and development of the Algal Collections. At approximately 250,000 specimens this is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. The Algal Collections contain specimens from a diverse group of unrelated organisms including the seaweeds, freshwater algae and even cyanobacterial collections.
A project to gather, analyse and share collections data on UK seaweeds, with a focus on indicators of environmental change (funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund).
This project's main objectives were to improve storage and management of the department’s cryptogamic collections (e.g. ferns, mosses, algae, lichens) which comprises some 2 million specimens.
I am part of a team managing the museum's collection database system KE EMu, with particular responsibility for botanical collections data.
My research interests are focused on the taxonomy, biodiversity and conservation of algae and bryophytes.
The NHM herbarium is particularly rich in marine algal collections from the United Kingdom, representing over 250 years of collecting. These specimens represent pieces of evidence that a species was present at a particular time and place. As such the herbarium collections are a vital part of research into changes in the UK seaweed flora.
2012-2013: Provisional Red Data List of Seaweeds of the British Isles. As no current Red Data List for seaweeds currently exists for the UK this projects aims to produce a provisional list applying IUCN criteria and identifying key areas where further work is needed, such as data deficient species (funding: John Spedan Lewis).
2012: Seaweed survey of the Outer Hebrides: To make seaweed surveys from sites around the islands verified by voucher specimens and establish baseline data for future monitoring (funding: Crown Estate).
2011-2012: Capturing the aliens: Using herbarium specimens to track the arrival and spread of non-native seaweeds in the UK (funding support: Marine Biological Association).
This project comprises a taxonomic revision of the moss family Orthotrichaceae in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. The Orthotrichaceae is the fifth largest moss family in Africa, with c. 140 taxa in twelve genera. These mosses can form a conspicuous element of tropical montane forests, usually growing as epiphytes on trees. Very little taxonomic research has so far been undertaken on the family across Africa and the complex genera Macromitrium and Schlotheimia in particular remain poorly resolved.
This project involves: description of taxa and synonymy of superfluous names in order to generate an accurate picture of the familial diversity across Africa; resolution of nomenclatural and typification problems; publication of descriptive taxonomy to provide means for identification; molecular analysis (focused on the genus Macromitrium) to test monophyly of the group and investigate evolutionary relationships between species and allied genera.
2013 - present Co-Editor of Field Bryology (Bulletin of the British Bryological Society)
2013 - present British Bryological Society - Council Member + Publications Committee
2010 - present British Phycological Society - Biodiversity and Conservation Committee
2006 - present British Bryological Society - Coordinator of Tropical Bryology Group
2008-2011 British Bryological Society - Council Member