Bristol University for both undergrad and PhD
BSc, PhD: both at Bristol
Bristol until end of my PhD, Cambridge for 7 years as a researcher, Exeter since 2013
University of Exeter, Centre for Ecology and Conservation
Favourite thing to do in my job: Understanding, or trying to, how nature works
Someone who loves the outdoors, films and cooking, running and biking, and of course, wildlife
The natural world has always been my passion, and understanding how it works. Travel is a big thing for me and seeing the world and our influence on it, especially to far flung places for both work and pleasure. Otherwise, I’m lucky enough that I can wander around on the beach and in rock pools and be able to call it work. I also enjoy writing, including books for various audiences, sports, and films.
Studying how animals communicate and hide visual information
I’m a Professor at the University of Exeter, at the Cornwall (Penryn) Campus. I study animal behaviour, coloration, and vision, including how animals communicate, how they hide from predators through camouflage, and how they trick and deceive one another through things like mimicry. I’ve studied many species so far, from butterflies and moths, crabs and prawns, to birds and primates. My main aim is to understand how visual information is used and hidden by animals and plants towards and from one another.
My Typical Day
There's no such thing - it varies all the time!
My work is incredibly varied – from finding animals who change colour in the rock pools, to giving undergraduate lectures on animal senses, or running a field course in Hong Kong, each day is different. Some days my focus is on how we can apply what we’ve learnt to make human applications, and on others it’s running my research lab or giving a talk at a conference.
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
Space and exploration - seeing how humans travel into space and the challenges faced
How does technology threaten your privacy?
It's an arms race - a constant battle with ever more powerful technology
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Meticulous, determined, understated
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Helped in some way answer questions that were posed by the earliest biologists
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Alred Russel Wallace
What did you want to be after you left school?
A biologist / naturalist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No never, not even once
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Not a singer but a band called the Living End
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Travelling to far away places off the beaten path
Tell us a joke.
You honestly don't want that