Hello everyone, if you hadn't guessed it already my name is Steve. I'm a zoology graduate from Anglia Ruskin University, a Master's graduate from Imperial College London and a current PhD student at the University of Kent. My current area of research is primarily based around barred grass snake (Natrix helvetica) population ecology and the effects of ophidiomycosis. I'm also interested in amphibian disease and population ecology too. As as a zoology graduate I have a wide base of knowledge to draw from but it's always been amphibians and reptiles that have appealed to me (sorry other taxonomic groups). In the past I've also been involved with a few entomological projects too, sorting aquatic macroinvertebrate larvae in order to assess the health of rivers and other ecosystems.
I'm often asked how I got into what I do and the answer is simple - I just never grew up. I'm always looking for new projects to get involved with and finding ways to answer the questions that spontaneously pop into my head. I'm one of those people that likes to be constantly busy and I won't shy away from a challenge! I'm a very confident speaker and I love presenting at conferences about my research and what I've been up to in the field.
My passion for the natural world and tenacious attitude to conserving herpetofauna has opened a number of doors for me, some of which have seen me take on a number of responsibilities. For example, I'm the current chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian & Reptile Group (CPARG), where I help to organise and coordinate a number of amphibian and reptile projects around the county. This involves monitoring a number of populations, including non-native species such as the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans). I honed my blogging skills at a site some of you may remember, The Wandering Herpetologist.
After I graduated from my zoology degree, I became an intern for the IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority, focusing the redlisting of south-east Asian amphibians. Again this helped to open more doors for me and I recommend that anyone interested in zoology (or more specifically herpetology) explores the options available to them. The more varied and specialised your skill set becomes, the more in demand you will be. If I've got one piece of information for an avid herpetologists it is to do your best to be as unique as possible and get involved with whatever you can.
It's easy to see where my passion lies and I hope that with my website that I'll be able to tie everything together in one place for you all to enjoy! I also hope to share my journey with you all as well as sharing my stories (via my blog) and also my research. You may be wondering how I got the nickname 'the newt guy', this was given to me at during my undergraduate years as I spent all of my spare time surveying for newts (partly for my dissertation and partly for fun). I haven't yet been given a new nickname regarding my snake research but there is still time! Speaking of university I was former committee member of the Anglia Ruskin Wildlife Society and I'm currently on the committee of the University of Kent Conservation Society.
I'm a current member of the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) as well as the International Varanid Interest Group (IVIG). Back in the UK, I'm a council member for the British Herpetological Society (BHS) and I also manage the Society's Twitter account. The British Herpetological Society was founded in 1947, being one of the oldest herpetological organisations. I'm immensely proud to be playing my part in helping to shape and guide it's future in our ever changing world! I recently joined the Global Ranavirus Consortium and I'm looking forward to the opportunities it may bring, despite the fact my research doesn't focus on Ranaviruses.
There are a number of other organisations I'm involved with in a volunteering capacity instead of an . One of them is Captive and Field Herpetology, a journal as well as herpetological expedition team. I'm also on the Advisory Committee for Save The Snakes, a non-profit based in the US that works around the world to help conserve snakes and reduce conflict with people. Snakebite is one of the most neglected tropical diseases so I feel that this is a worthy cause, saving both the lives of snakes and humans alike! Finally, I'm on the Task Force for SAVE THE FROGS!, another non-profit based in the US. It is probably clear that amphibians and reptiles are my passions, I'm happy to give up my spare time to help promote their conservation as well as undertaking direct action.