I started off my university life studying pure biology but this very quickly moved toward zoology and into marine biology which was really all I had ever wanted to do. I took these interests further and gained a PhD in marine biology from Bangor University and it was whilst studying there that I really developed my interest in ecological communities, their dynamics and their responses to human influences.
I then worked abroad for the NGO Coral Cay Conservation as their Project Scientist in the Philippines being responsible for the coral reef survey programme. I also worked with the local communities providing educational materials and working with fishermen toward establishing and managing no-take zones as a means of protecting their resources for future generations. Back in the UK I have worked in consultancy providing advice and evidence to public and private bodies with regard to the state and protection of our marine habitats.
Citizen science has fast become a buzz word, particularly in conservation circles. I volunteer on many days each year with the Seasearch project, gathering data on local marine habitats (some maybe never dived before) and providing data toward the establishment of Marine Conservation Zones. Various aspects of my activities have enlightened me to the importance of imagery as a means of providing evidence behind ecological records and as a way of engaging with new audiences. If we want people to protect our environment then helping them to appreciate its beauty and understand its complexity is just as important as showing its degradation and demise.
The Earth in Focus project has been set up by myself, Adam Seward, Richard Shucksmith and George Stoyle as a means of telling stories and providing imagery related to the environment, ecology and science.