History and Research interests
After becoming established as a self taught artist specialising in reconstructing extinct species, I undertook a degree in bird palaeontology at the University of Portsmouth, followed by a PhD at the Natural History Museum, London. This provided an opportunity to not only excavate extinct species and scientifically describe them, but also to artistically reconstruct them from their fossil remains. This culminated in my first book in 2008 and my aim of merging two disciplines, the arts and the sciences. I have also been successful on numerous occasions in obtaining large grant applications, including field trips to the Mascarenes Islands (Reunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues), Seychelles, Comoros, South Africa, Indonesia and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as consultation services and presenting for the BBC/Channel 4/ Discovery channels. I am presently working on my second book project entitled ‘Extinct & Hypothetical Birds’ due 2011.
I have predominantly worked on oceanic islands faunas and my specialist field area is avian palaeontology, particularly the study and history of the extinct dodo of Mauritius, but also the many now extinct birds that once occurred on oceanic islands throughout the world. This includes avian phylogenies, ecological history and palaeo-environmental diversity. I have lectured on all aspects of island and faunal evolution and human-induced extinction to a broad range of audiences from the general public to academia at the highest level.