At school, I was fascinated by natural history and particularly bird watching. At the age of fourteen, I started visiting the Harrison Institute as a volunteer, helping with curation, conducting simple projects on mammal taxonomy and joining field trips to Europe, North and Central America. Thirty-six years later I am still working there!
In between, I studied geography at Oxford University (1980-1983) and undertook my PhD (1983-1987) at the Harrison Institute/Royal Holloway College, University of London. Although, as a taxonomist, I work primarily on bats today, my thesis was on rodent taxonomy and zoogeography, with particular reference to gerbils from East Africa and Asia. In 1987, I joined the Institute as a full time researcher and worked with David Harrison revising his monograph The Mammals of Arabia. Later I worked for seven years with colleagues in India and Sri Lanka studying the bat fauna of the Indian Subcontinent.
Since 1999, my researches have primarily focused on the bats of Southeast Asia with collaborative, on-going projects in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. These projects have a strong component of capacity building and together with local and international colleagues we are developing a network of young in-country bat taxonomists, with an interest in understanding the diversity of species within Southeast Asia. My role in SEABCRU is a member of the Steering Committee and one of the Team Leaders of the Taxonomy Section.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1051363. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).