Simon started at the University of Wolverhampton in May 2017 as a Lecturer in Conservation Genetics and currently holds a Scientific Associate position at the Natural History Museum, London (NHM).
Simon completed his PhD jointly from University College London (UCL) and the NHM in 2015 and his MZool from Bangor University in 2011.
Simon’s research focusses primarily on the evolution, ecology and conservation of reptiles and amphibians with a focus on species occurring in Ecuador, Seychelles and New Guinea.
Museum specimens have long been a valuable resource for understanding many aspects of biology. One of the fastest growing fields of research is molecular ecology and knowledge of this is often needed to inform many biological disciplines e.g. evolution, ecology and conservation. Many geographic regions, especially in the tropics, lack exploration or samples that could previously be utilised for genetic studies due to the way that museum specimens are preserved (formalin-fixed). Recently, advances in modern genetic techniques have allowed us to sequence large areas of the genome (ultraconserved elements (UCEs)) for museum specimens, allowing for previously unanswered questions to be addressed. New Guinea is one of the most poorly studied regions of the world, despite being home to the second largest expanse of rainforest.
This project aims to address multiple questions to better understand diversity within New Guinea, test biogeographic hypotheses and assess the utility of modern genetic techniques when applied to historic museum specimens.