Following B.Sc and M.Sc degrees at the University of New Zealand (Auckland) I moved to Harvard University to complete a PhD in biology and a following postdoctoral fellowship. I came to Australia to join CSIRO as Curator of Formicidae (ants) at the National Insect Collection, Canberra, and later served there as Section Head, Taxonomy and General Biology. I have completed over 110 scientific publications, and continue research as an Honorary Research Fellow, CSIRO Division of Ecosystems Science, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University.
I have worked in the field extensively in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Polynesia, West Malaysia, Borneo and West Africa, and on historic Ant collections in many Australian, North American and European Museums.
Current research activities, with regular production of publications, include taxonomic studies of various ant genera, from Australia (Myrmecia, Lordomyrma, Heteroponera, Podomyrma) and Overseas (Lordomyrma, Anomalomyrma, Metapone), including several world revisions. Also on several topics on the sociobiology of Nothomyrmecia and Myrmecia. I am involved with the faculty and students of the Jochen Zeil research group at ANU, which works on Invertebrate visual biology, with special emphasis on visual navigation in ants, especially on Myrmecia. I am presently deeply engaged in theoretical research on contentious aspects of animal speciation theory.