PhD student

The effect of plant surface micro-topography on wetting, surface contamination, and insect adhesion and locomotion

Fascinated by carnivorous plants from a young age, I’ve maintained a live collection of pitcher plants since the late 1990s. Since I first observed pitcher plants in their natural habitat in Borneo in 2005, I have gained field experience with a number of carnivorous plant genera, including Nepenthes in Borneo and Sumatra, Drosophyllum in Morocco and Spain, Drosera in Brazil, as well as Heliamphora, Brocchinia, Catopsis, Drosera, Genlisea and Utricularia throughout Venezuela. My research interests broadly span the functional morphology, ecology and evolution of tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes and Heliamphora).

I have a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity, both from Imperial College London. I was subsequently employed as a research technician at University College London. In October 2018 I joined the Bristol Mechanical Ecology Lab to start a PhD on the biomechanics of Nepenthes and Heliamphora traps. The main trapping surfaces of these tropical pitcher plants exhibit highly ordered, hierarchical microstructures that confer a suite of interesting properties, including (super)hydrophilicity, water film stabilisation, and directional water spreading. I am investigating the relative contributions of topography and surface chemistry to these surface properties.