My research has aimed to address one of the fundamental questions of tropical biology – how and when did the huge species numbers in the tropics arise? It is grounded in fundamental, descriptive taxonomic, inventory and phylogenetic research, which provides the foundation to address evolutionary and biogeographic questions.

I am Professor of Tropical Plant Diversity and Biogeography at the University of Exeter. I also retain a part time position at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh where I worked since my PhD and was Head of the Tropical Diversity section ( This comprised c. 35 people including researchers, PhD students, RBGE associate scientists and core-funded scientific staff. I am also a Visiting Professor at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh. I have served on the Natural Environment Research Council, Peer Review College and the Biology Panel of the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. I have taught phylogenetics, plant geography and systematics to MSc and undergraduate students. I have also supervised the research projects of more than 60 MSc and PhD students.