I am a researcher working on global faunas, taxonomy & phylogeny and the global biodiversity of the smallest Lepidoptera (insects). One of the most fundamental challenges for mankind in the 21st century is to document the extent and distribution of global biodiversity, and to understand the ecological processes that generate and maintain it.
Research Focus 1
Assembling the Tree of Life. An extensive and intensive taxonomic description of species (or taxa of other rank) of poorly known primitive Lepidoptera: our preliminary estimates suggest that solely in nepticuloids (Lepidoptera) about 65% (or 40% in tischeroids) await discovery and description. Investigation of diversification within nepticuloids, tischerioids and other related groups of Lepidoptera: why it is that some taxa are more diverse than others. Using the data for biodiversity measurement and setting conservation priorities and/or pest control methods. Internationally collaborative studies of primitive Lepidoptera using traditional and molecular data to reconstruct branching events; develop and test new hypotheses about the causes of biodiversity change.
Research Focus 2
The relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Descriptive taxonomy for the identification and naming of species of Lepidoptera to understand the biogeographical and historical factors that determine species richness and functional diversity. Comparative studies of primitive Lepidoptera in biodiversity hotspots and studies in extreme ecosystems to generate insight as to how fauna originates. Comparative studies and investigation of different ecosystems and measurement of species richness (or other criteria of biological diversity) in nepticuloid, tischerioid and other Lepidoptera. Assessment of possibly non-native, accidentally introduced species of leaf-miners in natural ecosystems.
From the initial stages of our research we have sought external funds from competitive grant systems. Among our first grants was one from the International Science Foundation, USA (1994/1995) – the biggest research grant at the time for a team of 4 doctoral students in leaf-mining Lepidoptera taxonomy headed by me.
As a visiting professor, I have worked for extended periods at The Natural History Museum, London, with support from the Royal Society (London), NATO (Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme) and the EU (via the SYS-Resource programme), also at University of Copenhagen, (Denmark), National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, USA), and some other research institutions.
In total, 39 collecting trips or long term research expeditions to the Crimea (Ukraine), the Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaydzan and Armeniya), Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan), Far East Russia, India, Nepal, Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, etc.
Diplomas or certificates
(An Assessment by UK NARIC is available: comparable to British Post Doctoral standard, Certificate 1941533897, 2004)
The most prestigious awards
Energetic, motivated, experienced, but always keen to learn and move ahead. By nature I am a leader, aiming to build and guide/organize research groups and research programmes (a research ideas generator, with a strategic attitude). However, at the same time I am a good team member: loyal, reliable, disciplined, polite, socially active, and sometimes (seldom...) with a good sense of humour.