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.