Meet the team

Our Natural Sciences staff are experts in Earth Systems, Invertebrates, Palaeobiology and Vertebrate Biology.

Meet our curators and staff

Looking for someone? You'll find our staff listed by Collections area below. For general enquiries contact Rachel Russell, Departmental Administrator, on the number or email below.

Natural Sciences Department

Earth Systems

Dr Rachel Walcott
Principal Curator of Earth Systems

Specific responsibility: Head of Mineral, Meteorite and Rock collections with particular emphasis on developing our ore mineral and bio-mineral collections.

Research interests: Tectonic geomorphology, calcite morphology, geo-biology interactions, and tracing historical collections.

E: r.walcott@nms.ac.uk

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Peter Davidson
Senior Curator of Mineralogy

Specific responsibility: Curation of the mineral, meteorite and gem collections, XRD and FTIR analysis.

Research interests/expertise: Mineralogy, meteorites, topographical mineralogy, the history of National Museums Scotland and its mineral collections, the use of minerals as paints and pigments, the application of x-ray diffraction analysis, mineralogical etymology.

E: p.davidson@nms.ac.uk

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Emily Brown
Assistant Curator of Earth Systems

Specific responsibility: Providing curatorial support across Earth Systems. Working particularly with the gemstone collection and auditing the mineral collection.

Research interests: Gemmology, copper mineralisation, granite petrogenesis and the use of stable isotopes, particularly copper, as tracers of provenance in minerals and rocks.

E: e.brown@nms.ac.uk

Dr Bob Gooday
Earth Systems Analyst

Specific responsibility: Providing analytical support to Earth Systems. Analysing geological specimens with techniques such as XRD, SEM, and FTIR.

Research interests: Igneous petrology, volcanology, the geology of Scotland’s volcanic districts.

E: b.gooday@nms.ac.uk

Invertebrates

Dr Vladimir Blagoderov
Principal Curator of Invertebrates.

Specific responsibility: Head of Invertebrate collections. Curation and development of the collection of marine and terrestrial invertebrates, including insects.

Research interests/expertise: Taxonomy of fungus gnats (Diptera: Sciaroidea); systematics, phylogeny and palaeontology of true flies (Insecta: Diptera); biodiversity informatics.

E: v.blagoderov@nms.ac.uk

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Fiona Ware
Curator of Invertebrate Biology

Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the collections of marine invertebrates including Porifera, Cnidaria, Crustacea, Bryozoa, Echinodermata and Tunicata; research loans and enquiries.

Research interests/expertise: Development of the collections of Scottish marine invertebrates; taxonomy and biogeography of benthic harpacticoid copepods; subterranean biology and the ecology of invertebrates inhabiting terrestrial cave environments.

E: f.ware@nms.ac.uk

Sankurie Pye
Curator of Invertebrate Biology

Specific responsibility: Curation and collection development of Mollusca and brachiopod collections (worldwide).

Research interests/expertise: Taxonomy and biogeography of the British Hydrobiidae (mud snails). Ecologically orientated work has included studies of the distribution of the molluscan faunas around Britain.

E: s.pye@nms.ac.uk

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Ashleigh Whiffin
Assistant Curator of Entomology

Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the insect collections; research loans and enquiries.

Research interests/expertise: Development of the collections of British insects; Coleoptera (especially Silphidae – carrion beetles); science communication.

E: a.whiffin@nms.ac.uk

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Palaeobiology

Dr Andrew Ross
Principal Curator of Palaeobiology

Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the fossil collections.

Research interests/expertise: Fossil arthropods, particularly the taxonomy, biodiversity and palaeoecology of insects.

E: a.ross@nms.ac.uk

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Dr Stig Walsh
Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeobiology

Specific responsibility: Curation of fossil vertebrate collections, especially Palaeozoic fish and early tetrapods.

Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate palaeoneurology (especially birds), avian palaeontology and evolution, vertebrate taphonomy, micro-CT techniques and quantitative approaches for investigating vertebrate skeletal shape variation.

E: s.walsh@nms.ac.uk

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Dr Yves Candela
Curator of Invertebrate Palaeobiology

Specific responsibility: Curation of fossil invertebrate and plant collections with particular responsibilities for fossil Brachiopoda.

Research interests/expertise: Brachiopoda taxonomy; biodiversification and biogeography of the Ordovician marine faunas; Cladistical analysis of the Strophomenida brachiopods.

E: y.candela@nms.ac.uk

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Dr Sarah Stewart
Assistant Curator of Palaeobiology

Specific responsibility: Curation of fossil invertebrate and plant collections with particular responsibilities for fossil mollusca.

Research interests/expertise: Geology, stratigraphy and palaeontology of the Girvan district, Scotland. 'Neglected' and/or problematic fossil taxa (groups).

E: sarah.stewart@nms.ac.uk

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Vicen Carrió, ACR
Geology Conservator

Specific responsibility: The preparation and conservation of specimens for inclusion in our galleries, temporary or permanent exhibitions, and for research.

Research interests/expertise: Anoxic environment techniques to improve the life of collections, adhesives, and how to improve the packing of collections to be stored and handled effectively.

E: v.carrio@nms.ac.uk

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Dr Davide Foffa
Research Fellow

Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate palaeontology. Triassic terrestrial ecosystems; anatomy, systematics, ecology, and macroevolution of Mesozoic marine reptiles using micro-CT techniques, biomechanics, quantitative multivariate analyses.

E: d.foffa@nms.ac.uk

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Dr Nick Fraser
Keeper of Natural Sciences

Responsible for: The Natural Sciences department, its staff, collections and projects.

Research interests/expertise: Early Mesozoic terrestrial and marine ecosystems; phylogeny and systematics of Rhynchocephalia and Protorosauria; global faunal and floral change across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

E: nick.fraser@nms.ac.uk

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Vertebrate Biology

Dr Andrew Kitchener
Principal Curator of Vertebrate Biology

Specific responsibility: Head of Birds, Mammals and Taxidermy. Curation and development of bird and mammal collections, especially carnivores (felids, mustelids), marine mammals and ungulates.

Research interests/expertise: Hybridisation between native and introduced mammal species, geographical variation and the effects of captivity on mammal and bird skeletal morphology, including ageing and pathology, faunal change and zooarchaeology of Scotland.

E: a.kitchener@nms.ac.uk

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Bob McGowan
Senior Curator of Birds

Specific responsibility: Curation of bird collections, including skins, eggs and skeletons.

Research interests/expertise: His main interests lie in the history of collections, bird egg collections and the comprehensive archives of the Scottish naturalist J.A. Harvie-Brown (1844-1916).

E: b.mcgowan@nms.ac.uk

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Dr Jerry Herman
Senior Curator of Mammals

Specific responsibility: Curation of mammal collections, especially cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), small mammals (mice, voles, shrews).

Research interests/expertise: Molecular evolution, intraspecific variation, biogeography and archaeology of Eurasian mammals, especially rodents and cetaceans.

E: j.herman@nms.ac.uk

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Zena Timmons
Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Biology

Specific responsibility: Curation of the vertebrate collections.

Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate biology and collections care.

E: z.timmons@nms.ac.uk

Dr Gill Murray-Dickson
Biobank Research Fellow

Specific responsibility: Development of the Edinburgh Biobank hub across BBSRC funded CRYOARKS and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) biobank initiatives.

Research interests/expertise: Conservation genetic and genomic analysis; Development of DNA-based laboratory protocols for informing population conservation management; DNA/tissue sample storage and archive.

E: g.murraydickson@nms.ac.uk

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Dr David Cooper
Postdoctoral Researcher

Specific responsibility: Postdoctoral Researcher on the Wellcome Trust Project: From ‘Feed the Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’.

Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate morphometric analysis, biogeography and Geographical Information Science (GIS)

E: d.cooper@nms.ac.uk

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Georg Hantke
Curatorial Preparator

Specific responsibility: Preparation of animal specimens for study and basic curation of vertebrates.

Research interests: Taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of Central American lower vertebrates and insects.

E: g.hantke@nms.ac.uk

Stephen Rodger
Curatorial Preparator

Specific responsibility: Preparation of non-passerine birds and small mammals.

Research interests/expertise: Bird and small mammal taxidermy as well as the preparation of skeletal material.

E: s.rodger@nms.ac.uk

Alan Lothian
Laboratory Assistant

Specific responsibility: Assisting curators and taxidermists with exhibitions preparation and upkeep.

Expertise: Preparation of bird and mammal skeletal specimens.

E: a.lothian@nms.ac.uk

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