I am an Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne, with research specialising in the ecology of weeds and invasive plants. Of particular interest in recent years has been the dynamics of coastal invaders, most notably invasive sea-rockets of the genus Cakile (a plant analogue of the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans). I rile against mediocrity and stand up against poor practices in ecology and agricultural science, such as the mis-use of statistics, weak inference, dogma, lack of critical questions and the prevalence of copycat research. This led me, together with Bruce Maxwell, Mike Williams and a few other mates, to start up the “ANdiNa” biennial international workshops, where early-career and experienced researchers from mixtures of disciplines can spend a week walking in mountains, debating scientific topics in a unique atmosphere, generating provocative discussion papers and forming new collaborations.
I took up photography in my late teens, particularly of wild orchids and other wildflowers in the UK. Until recently I never had a lesson, but many people have offered me advice over the years. However, I still take pictures as a scientist – not like an artist – and I mostly take ad hoc pictures when out walking rather than planned photographic shoots. I also do the minimum of post-processing. Now that my wife and I can afford to travel (even with Covid we are able to travel widely in Australia), I have become keen on photographing wildlife, large and small. I use a Nikon camera (currently the D610) and lenses – my favourite being my 105 mm VR macro – and a couple of Sigma and Tamron telephoto lenses. I think I am improving at last…….
Other hobbies include gardening, walking, listening to music, lawn bowls ( mind and body sadly forced me to retire at the pinnacle of my career!) and family history research. My work on my wife’s roots in Ireland is available here.