Meet the experts

Here at Ask A Biologist, we have some of the world's foremost experts in every field of biology. From palaeontology to neuroscience, from marine life to mammoths, they're all here. Meet the experts who answer the questions:

Photo of A. Brent Richards
A. Brent Richards

I am currently a biology teacher at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. I teach Genetics and Introduction to Neurobiology. I hold a bachelors degree in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD in neuroscience from Georgetown University. My research background is in neuronal cell biology, brain development, and cognition.

Answers given: 322 - view all answers
Photo of Manabu Sakamoto
Manabu Sakamoto

I am a postdoctoral research associate at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol. My current research is on the interrelationships and evolution of living and fossil cats. This project focuses on reconstructing the evolutionary history of the cats, including their interrelationships, biogeography, taxonomic diversification, morphological disparity, and functional adaptations. I am particularly interested in applying numerical analyses (multivariate statistics) to look at the patterns of evolution, for instance any trends through time or across phylogeny.

I also work on the biting mechanics and jaw muscle anatomy of avian and non-avian theropod dinosaurs.

Answers given: 306 - view all answers
Photo of Corwin Sullivan
Corwin Sullivan

I am a Canadian vertebrate palaeontologist (yes, I do have a backbone) involved in research on dinosaurs and other extinct monstrosities in Beijing, China. A particular focus of my work is functional morphology, the study of the relationship between anatomical structure and mechanical function. Ecologically, I am a mainly nocturnal omnivore with a small territory and few natural predators.

Answers given: 256 - view all answers
Photo of Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan

My major research focuses on the application of quantitative and statistical techniques to the fossil record. I have been involved in projects that have analyzed the evolution of a range of biological groups (flying vertebrates, dinosaurs, trilobites, ammonoids, plants) in space and time, as well as more theoretical projects aimed at developing computer tools for analyzing evolutionary patterns and processes. I have worked or studied in Scotland, England, the USA and Germany.

The group I specialize in is the Ammonoidea but I am interested in all cephalopod groups. This was enough to make me moderator of the invertebrates list here. A little learning is a dangerous thing.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government and Marie Curie all help to fund my research at present.

However, I am also a keen 'hands-on' conservation worker, doing both practical conservation work (previous jobs included working for Scottish Conservation Projects building mountain footpaths and working as a forester in Wiltshire) and bird surveys with the British Trust for Ornithology and the RSPB. If you are reading this in Great Britain or Ireland, I would urge you to contribute ANY bird sightings to the Atlas Project 2007-2011 website or to BirdTrack.

My other interests include long-distance running, history and philosophy of science, public understanding of statistics and probability and playing a wide range of futile board games.

Answers given: 238 - view all answers
Photo of Dan Metcalfe
Dan Metcalfe

I am a plant ecologist with a background in plant ecophysiology and 20 years experience of working in the Old World tropics. I grew up in the west country of England and have held lectureships at British universities, but now work for CSIRO, the Australian national scientific research organisation where I lead the Ecology Research Program. Current projects are mostly focussed at the landscape scale, and include work on weeds, fire management and threatened species. I am also interested in the biogeography and evolutionary history of Australian tropical rain forests, which have significant relationships with South America, Madagascar, New Caledonia and South-east Asia.

Answers given: 230 - view all answers
Photo of Richard Comont
Richard Comont

I'm a PhD student working at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Oxford University, studying the Harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, and the impact it is having on our native ladybird species. Prior to the PhD I worked on the associations between butterflies, pathogens and parasitoids, and lepidoptera remain one of my favourite insect groups. I've also worked for the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts, and in farming.

Answers given: 192 - view all answers
Photo of Neil Gostling
Neil Gostling

I am an evolutionary biologist.
I enjoy discussing and looking at all questions to do with biological evolution. Despite being an evolutionary developmental biologist by training, I have done as much work, if not more, in palaeontology and the evolution of metazoans- animals.

Answers given: 164 - view all answers
Photo of Joe Daniel
Joe Daniel

I teach Gross Anatomy to med students. I will also be doing some microanatomy and will be teaching Paleobiology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. My research interests are mainly in taphonomy and comparative anatomy. Any time I can throw in stuff about dinosaurs, so much the better:)

Answers given: 163 - view all answers
Photo of Ajna Rivera
Ajna Rivera

I am a professor at the University of the Pacific, a small liberal arts/pre-health college in California. Here, I teach Developmental Biology, Genetics, Evolution and General Biology. My students and I study the evolution of gene regulatory networks using genomics, molecular biology, and developmental biology.
I have a bachelor's degree in Biology from Stanford University and a doctorate in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

Answers given: 153 - view all answers
Photo of Phil Leftwich
Phil Leftwich

I am a PhD student at the University of East Anglia (UEA) studying sexual selection in fruit flies, my work allows me to focus on the enormous role that sex plays in evolution and speciation, and how it has shaped the morphologies and behaviours of every multicellular organism on the planet

Answers given: 139 - view all answers
site build by Entuplet design by Gary Bristow