David is a Visiting Scientist in the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester. His research focuses on spiders and on fossils (including insects) preserved in amber, and also on the invertebrate fauna of tropical West Africa (The Gambia). Regular visits to the Entomology department facilitate the identification of the myriad of creatures he encounters as both fossils and in the living fauna.
The collections of both specimens and literature in the Entomology Department form an invaluable resource available nowhere else in the university. Comparison of his research specimens against this vast wealth of data, permit him to identify most specimens he is interested in, or to determine that they belong to new species, in which case he embarks on their scientific description. For specimens in amber he is currently using the latest imaging techniques, including computed tomography in the Department of Material Sciences.
In addition to his scientific publications, this research has led to the production of several books, including: Spiders in Dominican amber, Field Guide to Wildlife of The Gambia, Field Guide to Butterflies of The Gambia, Common Spiders and Other Arachnids of The Gambia, with several more in preparation (see online for further details).
New fossil species in amber discovered recently include two spiders (one in Baltic and one in Dominican amber), one lacebug (Hemiptera) in Dominican amber and one lacewing (Neuroptera) in Baltic amber (see online for further details).
I wish to thank Dr David Penney for providing me with the background of his research programme.