I am a molecular systematist working on the phylogeny and evolution of species diversity in insects. My specific interest is the order Coleoptera (beetles), the arguably largest radiation of animal species on Earth, which I use as a model for an evolutionary understanding of the great diversity of living organisms. I apply genomics and phylogenetic analysis, working at all hierarchical levels, from populations to basal relationships of insect orders. Novel high-throughput sequencing methods are constantly opening up new avenues for studying taxonomy and biodiversity, in particular in poorly known groups of arthropods, such as the tropical forest canopy or the soil. Metagenomic shotgun sequencing permits the study of entire complex communities in bulk for the analysis of species richness and phylogeny directly from an environmental sample (‘soup-to-tree’). Equally, we are using environmental DNA (eDNA) and qPCR or metabarcoding approaches to characterize complex communities from soil and water in freshwater habitats, or to study gut content of insects and mammals. I have a joint appointment with the Natural History Museum (NHM) London where I conduct most of my research.
1995 - present Joint Position in Molecular Systematics, Imperial College London and Natural History Museum, London, UK (Full Professor 2006)
1991-1994 Research Scientist, Department of Entomology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA.
1989 -1991 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
1988 PhD (Bacterial Genetics), University of Osnabrück, Germany,
1984 Biology, University of Regensburg, Germany
et al., 2021, The diversity of soil mesofauna declines after bamboo invasion in subtropical China, Science of the Total Environment, Vol:789, ISSN:0048-9697
et al., 2021, Mitogenomic data elucidate the phylogeny and evolution of life strategies in Dermestidae (Coleoptera), Systematic Entomology, ISSN:0307-6970
et al., 2021, Coming of age for COI metabarcoding of whole organism community DNA: towards bioinformatic harmonisation., Molecular Ecology Resources, ISSN:1471-8278
et al., 2021, Host phylogeny and diet shape gut microbial communities within bamboo-feeding insects, Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol:12, ISSN:1664-302X, Pages:1-13
et al., 2021, Demographic history and genomic response to environmental changes in a rapid radiation of wild rats, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol:38, ISSN:0737-4038, Pages:1905-1923