I’m a New Zealander – paleontologist, geologist, photographer, traveler.
I was born in Dunedin, but a few months later my family shifted to the small town of Alexandra (pop. c. 3,000 at the time). We (my sister came a little later) grew up next to a semi-wild pine forest that was on the other side of the road. A little later again, we moved a few kilometers out of town into the country. We had a big (very big) house, and much of the upstairs was devoted to my ‘museum’. These were the fossils I had started to collect from when I was 8 or 9 years old.
A family trip to the Haast when I was 10 turned up my first plant fossils – and those have been the focus of my research interests ever since.
School was a bus or bike-ride away back in Alexandra, and then at 17 I left the mountains to start at the University of Otago. Towards the end and after finishing my PhD, I was a self-employed photographer in Dunedin, before shifting to Australia. After a post-doc in Tasmania and Queensland, I lectured ecology to groups of visiting American students. In 2007 I left the university and spent five years as a geologist, working mainly in Mongolia, Indonesia and Turkey.
Travelers love to brag about how many countries they’ve visited. Well, I’ve traveled to over 76 – but what really is a ‘country’ and what does it mean to have ‘traveled it’? As a kind of alternative list – I’m seeing how many of the World Wildlife Fund ‘ecoregions’ I can travel to – and get a representative photo.
I’ve also published my research in over 80 papers.