Mr Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell
  • Senior Curator, Reptilia
  • Life Sciences department
  • Vertebrates Division
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Employment history 

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK

2011               Senior Curator (Grade 4 Senior Curator) Sci level 3, Reptiles

1988 - 2011   Curator (Grade 5 Scientific Officer) Sci level 2, Fish, Amphibians and Reptiles

1988 - 1991   Curator (Grade 6 Assistant Scientific Officer), Fish 

1986 - 1988   Assistant Curator (Grade 7),  Zoology



1992     BSc. (Hons) Biological Sciences, University of London, London. UK


Duties, Achievements and Expertise

Summary of duties:
  • To maintain and improve curatorial standards, combat decay, to monitor IPM levels and environmental controls through project management.
  • To facilitate and encourage collecting efforts in order to enhance the collection and to incorporate new material including vouchers through collaboration.
  • To update, maintain and enhance taxonomic records and to manage access to the collection including the hosting of SyntheSys visitors.
  • To manage the enquiry load and to respond to loan and photographic requests.
Selected achievements/projects:
  • 2013: Reptile and Amphibian entire type collection curated
  • 2009-11: Collections Storage Infrastructure Programme (CSIP):
    • Supervision of the Wildebeest Large Vertebrate Preparation Facility Project - this involved the movements of specimens into temporary storage at Wandsworth while the new Large Vertebrate Store (LVS) was re-fitted with compactorised storage. From the arrival of the removal company to begin the decant, it took 12 weeks to move approximately 20,000 zoology specimens.
    • Wandsworth Specimen re-housing programme - large fish and reptile specimens were re-housed at outstation facility in Wandsworth (oversized residual specimens moved as part of CSIP: Wildebeest Large Vertebrate Preparation Facility Project: Phase 1)
    • Molecular Collections Facility Project - new specialised and centralised molecular storage facility (MCF) which provides an integrated approach to the management and maintenance of molecular collections including the creation of a new database system - MCF Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) merging KeEmu and Freezerpro designed specifically to enable the close monitoring of tissue samples being transported in and out of the facility.
  • 2009 – 2011: Fish skeleton collection and the Archaeological Digital online Fish identification database


Research interests

  • Calotes and Sitana species complexes
    • Unravelling the taxonomic problems of these two groups of agamid lizards from Sri Lanka
  • Trachemys  turtles
    • Current research on the molecular systematics of Trachemys has shown that traditional taxon delimitation requires revision and that some currently recognized taxa are composed of distinct genetic lineages.
  • Indian snakes collected by Patrick Russell
    • Conducting historical research, taxonomic updates and restoring snakeskins collected by Russell
  • Pelomedusa turtles
    • Disentangling the Pelomedusa complex using type specimens and historical DNA

Professional Roles


  • Collections Management:
    • Joint meeting of SPNHC (Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections) and NSCA (The Natural Science Collections Alliance) San Francisco, California Sustainable Museums/Sustaining Collections, May 23-28, 2011 (Delegate)
    • NatSca (Natural Sciences Collections Association) 'Coping with Collections deterioration' 4 March 2011 Newcastle UK (Delegate)
    • Daubenton Study trip to Museum of Natural History, Paris 2010
    • EuroFISHBOL 2 2nd workshop of the European Regional Working Group of FISH-BOL 1st -2nd June 2010, Braga, Portugal (Delegate/Participant)
    • SPNCH (Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections) : Bridging Continents - New Initiatives and Perspectives in Natural History Collections; (LUMC): 6-10 July  2009; National Natural History Museum Naturalis and Leiden University Medical Centre (Invited participant)
    • Frozen Tissue Workshop 6-7th October 2009, NHM London (Speaker)
    • AHRC/ EPSRC Science and Heritage programme: Understanding Complex Structures, the conservation, display and interpretation of lace and natural objects workshops, Victoria and Albert Museum2008 (Delegate/Participant)
    • Fish-Bol meeting in Sicily April 2008 (Speaker/Workshop Leader informing the international audience about the preservation, packaging and sending of voucher specimens)
    • 2007 Real World Science conference: Natural History Museum (Delegate)
    • NatSca (Natural Sciences Collections Association) conference Liverpool 27-27th April 2006 (Delegate)
    • NatSca (Natural Sciences Collections Association) Dublin National Museum of Ireland 26-28th April2004 (Delegate)
    • 2005-2006 Consortium for the Barcode of Life FISH-BOL workshop (Participant)
    • 2005 SPNHC (Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections) Realising Standards Conference, NHM, UK (Speaker/Guide)
    • BCG (Biology Curators Group)/NatSca (Natural Sciences Association) Inaugural Conference Manchester 7-8th April 2003 (Delegate)
    • NatSca (Natural Sciences Collections Association) conference USA (New York and Washington, AMNH and Smithsonian) February 2002 (Delegate)
    • Methods of managing Spirit Collections (Budapest) June 2000
  • BGC (Biology Curators Group):
    • Budapest Hungarian Museum 9-12th Nov 2000 (Delegate)
    • Holland 29th October 1999
    • NHM Skin and Bones March 25th-27th 1999 (Delegate)
    • Paris 7-10 November (Delegate)
    • Belgium November 8th 1995 (Delegate)
    • Holland November 2-6th 1994 (Delegate)


Public Understanding of Science 

  • NHM Members: interviews/talks/tours (Evolve magazine 2014)
  • Nature Live presentation
  • Science Uncovered
  • Night Safari
  • Valentines special – Venomous Snakes
  • Behind the Scenes at the NHM
  • Flesh Eating beetles
  • Fishy Objects for ID
  • The Variety Show (DC2 Film NHM)
  • 'BBC Inside Story' (Mitten crabs)
  • Radio 5 Live, The Guardian, Telegraph, GMTV, BBC radio, Nickelodeon


Teaching and training provided

  • Collection management:
    • 2011 Curator from University of Wroclaw Institute of Zoology, Poland (Government funded)
    • 2010 Leonardo Da Vinci training provided
    • 2009 Zoology Curation Consultancy Training (student from Oman)
    • 2009 Daubenton Training (Curators, European museums)
    • 2008-2013 Young Graduates for Museum and Galleries (YGMG)  support and internships supervised
    • 2006, GC University, Lahore, student
    • 2005 AUB Training Lebanese students
  • Radiography:
    • Radiography: NHM staff/Visitors


Fund raising and corporate support

  • A selection of VIP tours/Media event
    • 2011 ‘How It Works’ Second Nature
    • 2010 present BBC Museum Lives 
    • 2010 Waterhouse Times (Museum Lives)
    • 2009 14 September HRH Prince William of Wales, Sir David Attenborough and associated VIPs opening event of the new Darwin Centre - tank room tours
    • 2008 Ceiling Project Artists
    • ICON films – The Dermestarium
    • 2005 NatureFirst interview
    • 2004 ‘ Museum Welcomes Smallest Employees’ (Flesh eating beetles) - multiple media coverage
    • 2004 National Geographic magazine
    • 2004 Rare sharks find 
    • 2004 Sturgeon media involvement
    • 2004 Museum of the Year Award Gulbenkian Prize


Professional membership 

  • SPNHC - The Society For The Preservation of Natural History Collections
  • Natsca - Natural Sciences Collections Association
  • BCG (Biology Curators group) member as Curator of all Voucher specimens
  • CBOL- - Fish Barcode of Life Initiative



  • 2013: Enhancing the NHM East African herpetological collection fieldwork project expedition – National Museums of Kenya and the Natural History Museum, London. Field surveys on amphibians and reptiles in a number of sites along the eastern Afromontane Highlands and coastal lowlands of Kenya.
  • 2013: Herpetology of the Guyana Shield expedition – exploring the herpetological diversity of the Guyana shield.


  • 2011: 79th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo – Participating in the judging of the largest, JAYCEES sponsored, annual fishing tournament of the south (Guinness Book of Records confirmed). Selecting specimens for skeletonisation ready for incorporation into the NHM collection.
  • 2010: 78th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (as above).
  • 2010 Hangingfield Reservoir - Eel Reservoir Surveys: Fyke net fishing survey to investigate eel populations
  • 2010 Grand Junction Reservoir - Eel Reservoir Surveys: Fyke net fishing survey to investigate eel populations
  • 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir  - Eel Reservoir Surveys: Fyke net fishing survey to investigate eel populations

Contract: Professional SCUBA diving

  • 2008: Benthic Orchid III RAF/NHM Post-Tsunami Dive Expedition, Thailand - examining the effects underwater of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami as  Science Officer, NHM representative and Dive Leader
  • 2007: Starfish dive survey expedition, Spain – as a diver of a 4 man team, conducting underwater searches for the burrowing starfish, Astropecten.
  • 2006: Marine Biological Survey Cliffe Lagoons, UK 1 – as diver collecting invertebrate samples (Marine Contracts fieldwork project).
  • 2006: Marine Biological Survey Portland Harbour, UK Marine Contracts fieldwork - collecting and sifting macro invertebrate samples
  • 2003: To investigate the Mineralogical content of shallow subtitle hydrothermal vents off Milos - diver and Underwater photographer collecting and sifting macro invertebrate samples

Contract: Other

  • 2007: Rivers Fields development British Gas Pipeline survey, Barrow UK – survey of the seabed from specific sites: collecting macro invertebrate samples, sifting, and preserving samples for identification and for the compilation of a report enabling a better understanding of the area prior to the installing of new pipelines.
  • 2005: 2007: Commercial Exploitation of the Thames Mitten Crab – examining the effects of the invasive mitten crab in the River Thames.


  • Thai dive

    Thai dive

    RAF/NHM Post-Tsunami Dive Expedition, Thailand Jan-Feb 2008
    (Science Officer, NHM representative and Dive Leader).

    Since 2006 the RAF, with scientific support of the NHM, have carried out a series of expeditions to the Andaman coast of Thailand. The aim was to develop and expand the methodology (based on Reef Check) to monitor both the immediate impacts and recovery from the 2004 tsunami and also the long term health of various tourist diving sites in the Similan Islands, South Andeman Sea, Thailand with particular reference to increased sea surface temperatures, global warming, and anthropogenic stressors, in particular, tourist diving. 


  • Astropecten starfish

    Astropecten starfish - one of only two found

    2007 Survey of Starfish (Astropecten johnstoni) Spain  
    (Diver, part of a 4 man team - including Dr Paul Clark, Dr Nick Evans, Mrs Jenny Evans)

    Searching for, what turned out to be, the very elusive burrowing starfish Astropecten johnstoni, for collection and analysis, which has, in recent years, suffered a reduction in number due to being hit by a wasting disease. The chief culprit being bacteria of the genus Vibrio.


Selected publications

  • Amarasinghe, T.A., Suranjan Karunarathna, D. M. S., Hallermann, J., Fujinuma, J., Grillitsch, H., & Campbell, P.D. ( 2014 )  A new species of the genus Calotes (Squamata: Agamidae) from high elevations of the Knuckles Massif of Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 3785 (1) : 059–078 . doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3785.1.5
  • Fritz, U.,  Petzold, A., Kehlmaier, C., Kindler, C., Campbell, P., Hofmeyr, M.D. & Branch, W.R. ( 2014 ) Disentangling the Pelomedusa complex using type specimens and historical DNA (Testudines: Pelomedusidae). Zootaxa 3795 (5) : 501-522 . 10.11646/zootaxa.3795.5.1
  • Iain Cope, Matt Fiddes, Sarah Pellett, and Patrick Campbell ( 2014 ) Foreign bodies encountered in captive and wild crocodilians between July 2006 and July 2012 Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine .
  • Knebelsberger, T, Landi, M, Neumann, H, Kloppmann, M, Sell, A.F., Campbell, P.D., Laakmann, S, Raupach, M.J., Carvalho, G.R. and Costa, F.O. ( 2014 ) A reliable DNA barcode reference library for the identification of the North European shelf fish fauna. Molecular Ecology Resources . doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12238
  • Paterson, G. L. J., Kendall, M. A., Aryuthaka, C. Evans, N. J.,Monthum, Y., Jittanoon, C., Campbell, P., Noble, L. R. and O’Neill, K. M. ( 2011 ) Tsunami impacts in the marine environment: review and results from studies in Thailand.In Gower D.J., Johnson K.G, Richardson J.E., Rosen B.R., Rüber, L. & Williams S.T. Biotic (Eds), In: Evolution and environmental change in Southeast Asia . Cambridge University Press .
  • Hunt, K, Campbell, P. and Clark, P. ( 2010 ) Report on fyke net fishing survey to investigate European eel populations in the Queen Elizabeth II and Grand Junction reservoirs., In: Report . Natural History Museum : London , .
  • Hunt, K, Campbell, P. and Clark, P.   ( 2009 ) Report on fyke net fishing survey to investigate eel populations in Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir, Surrey, In: Report . Natural History Museum .
  • Campbell, P. ( 2008 ) Royal Air Force/NHM Marine Research Expedition Benthic Orchid III 17 January to 4th February 2008., In: Department of Zoology Annual Report 2007/8 . Natural History Museum : London , .
  • Campbell, P. ( 2008 ) Submitting Voucher Specimens For The Natural History Museum Collection., In: PDF report for Fishbol. . Natural History Museum : London , .
  • Campbell, P. ( 2008 ) Taxidermy Workshop. 13th February 2007 NatSCA News 14 : 13-18 .
  • Clark P.F., Campbell P., Smith B., Rainbow P.S., Pearce D. and Miguez R.P. ( 2008 ) The commercial exploitation of Thames mitten crabs: a feasibility study., In: A report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by the Department of Zoology: DEFRA references FGE 274 . Natural History Museum : London , 1-81, appendices 1-6 .
  • Evans N.J., Campbell. P. ( 2008 ) Survey of the status of coral reefs at various tourist dive sites at Similan Islands, 5, 6 and 9 and development of a methodology for long term monitoring by non-specialist divers, In: Consultancy Report . Natural History Museum : London , .
  • Evans, N. J., Tittley, I., Robbins, S. M., Bamber, R., Huxley, R., Campbell, P., Salvador, A., Spurrier, C. J. ( 2008 ) Rivers Fields Development onshore pipeline environmental recovery monitoring programme, Summer - Autumn 2007., In: Consultancy Report to ConocoPhillips No. ECM 771E/08 . Natural History Museum : London , 83 .
  • Evans, N.J. and Campbell, P. ( 2008 ) Marine Research Expedition: Benthic Orchid 3., In: Science Report . .
  • Evans, N.J., Clark, P.F., Campbell, P.D., and Evans, L.P.,   ( 2008 ) Survey for starfish (Astropecten) at selected sites in the vicinity of Almunecar, western Mediterranean, Spain. 12th-24th September 30th November, 3rd-4th December 2007., In: Report for the Department of Zoology . The Natural History Museum, London and the Zoological Museum of Zurich. : London , .
  • Campbell, P., Crimmen O. and Bamber R. N. ( 2002 )  Identification of species on Maureen Alpha video, In: Report No. ECM 736E/02 . The Natural History Museum : London , 3 .