My research seeks to understand the biological success of gorgonian (sea fan) corals, particularly their dominance at the mesophotic (>50m/164ft) and deeper ocean depths of the Indo-Pacific. This is achieved through the integration of cross-disciplinary approaches from experimental field ecology (using closed circuit rebreather technology), genomics (phylogeography and systematics), ethology, functional morphology, and physiology. This cross-disciplinary approach aims to build an understanding of the phenotypic responses to environmental change over ecological and geological (deep) time. As such, I have collected and curated >8000 gorgonian specimens for systematic and phylogenomic research, with many new species to science. 

I have over 40-years active diving and expedition experience. I now use these skills to conduct innovative field research and experimentation on species new to science. This research is high-risk, innovative, and not institutionally supported. Therefore, I seek creative ways to safely support my research and successfully designed the ‘Methods in Mesophotic‘ field course series. This series is specifically designed for adept technical divers (non-scientists and scientists) to learn how to conduct scientific research at depth, and help support this research in a safe and professional manner.

Professional Awards

2016 – Sir David Attenborough Award for Field Work, Systematics Association & Linnaean Society of London

2023 – USA Citizenship, dual citizenship USA & UK

*List of grant awards see CV HERE


Academic Appointments

2020 – Present: Assistant Researcher, Department of Earth Sciences, SOEST, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Hawai’i, USA

2023 – Present: Scientific Associate, Dept. Life Sciences, NHM, London, UK

2022 – Present: Research Associate, Dept. Invertebrate Zoology, NMNH, Smithsonian, Washington, DC, USA

2019 – 2020: Research Biologist, SOESTUniversity of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Hawai’i, USA

2019 – Applied Research Lab., University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Hawai’i, USA

2017 – Present: Research Affiliate. SOESTUniversity of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Hawai’i, USA

Professional Service

2020 – 2023: Ambassador: Divesoft  Closed Circuit Rebreather technology, CZ.

2018 – Present: Elected Fellow National (FN), Explorers Club, USA

2017 – Present: Linnean Society of London, UK. Elected Fellow (FLS)

2016 – Present:NOAA Okeanos Explorer, Shore Based Scientist, University of Hawai’i, USA

2015 – 2018: Association for Marine Exploration (AME), USA. CSO (Chief Science Officer)

2013 – 2019: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, (BPBM), USA. Research Affiliate

2007 – Present: Royal Society of Biology, (MRSB), UK

Academic Education

2015 – 2017: Post Doctoral Fellow, SOEST, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, USA

2009 – 2015: PhD, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand

2004 – 2008: BSc (Hons) Marine Biology, University of Plymouth, UK, 1st class honours with industrial placement

2003 – 2004: Extended Science, University of Plymouth, UK (GPA 4)