How many of us dreamt as a child to nestle down amidst the high branches of a huge, charismatic oak tree at the bottom of the garden, in the corner of the park or down in the woods at the end of the road? Imagining an adventurous night spent under the stars and in the… Read more Camping for Kinabatangan
Fieldwork has taken me to the tropical rainforests of Indonesia, the Peruvian Amazon, the Philippines and Malaysian Borneo, it has taken me to the deserts of Namibia and the savannas in Tanzania, it has shown me the beautiful beaches of Pembrokeshire and the expansive North Yorkshire moors. I have held caiman in the Amazon, counted… Read more Is ecology as dull as dishwater? Why fieldwork matters.
Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit the Philippines on November 8th 2013 killing more than 6000 and affecting more than 16 million people, destroying homes, communities and livelihoods. According to the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre, since then there have been 13 more typhoons. The latest on Christmas day just a few days ago. Each typhoon often causing… Read more In the path of destruction
The unlikely President-elect Donald Trump has, whether you or I like it or not, led a successful campaign that has landed him in one of the most powerful positions in the World. Which makes me question what is required to be a success? Do values have to be sacrificed to be a success? Is controversy… Read more Measures of Success: Status, Values and Self-Promotion
Studying monitor lizards my sample size on morphology was a meagre 6 lizards, of which I collected movement data from 5 individuals. Small numbers achieved from 4 months of hard graft scrambling through dense rainforest for hours every day. Studying ants I have already identified a dizzying 21,085 ants and I am only half way… Read more The emerging entomologist: the merits of taxonomy
As I safely try to scale a giant tropical Dipterocarp tree, hauling myself from the humid forest floor to the cooler tops of the canopy I need an array of equipment. 100 m ropes, slings, helmets, a harness with an assortment of safety devices including karabiners, a jumar, duck, and kroll, using techniques developed from… Read more Agta
As a teacher I would work probably on average 50 hours a week, often more, rarely less, and I was efficient. That does not account for parent’s evenings, interview evenings, open days or whole weekends spent supervising Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. Teachers become experts at multi-tasking. The work load and demand on a teacher’s time… Read more Is a work-life balance only a work of fiction?
Trained as a zoologist trees have by and large evaded my attention, instead I have always been drawn by the enigmatic animatic thus I have remained blind for many years as to the wonder that trees possess. Initially the trees were frameworks housing the focus of my study, canopy invertebrates, but little by little the… Read more Tree Gestures
Three months of field work in Borneo. What should be expected? The name Borneo conjures up images of enchanted primary rainforest, pockets of forest that have managed to endure and remain unscathed, huge tropical trees extending up to the heavens, an array of unusual, exotic wildlife from brightly coloured birds to venomous snakes and the… Read more Practicalities of Tropical Field Ecology
One of the appeals of teaching in a sixth form college was the fact I no longer had to teach physics. I could remain within the boundaries of my biological specialism, my main interests and passion. Physics was often too mathematical and abstract for me to find inspiration and excitement in. Translocate to eight years… Read more The Physics of Climbing Trees