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I’ve been keeping fishes as a hobbyist for close on thirty years, but it wasn’t until dabbling online in the early 2000s that after I discovered PlanetCatfish, and it was here that I found a group of like-minded and absurdly well-informed catfish enthusiasts. I promptly filled all my tanks with L-numbers and haven’t looked back.


After completing an MSc in taxonomy, and a PhD in DNA barcoding, I was lucky enough to live in Manaus in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon for three years. This was part of a project to survey major tributaries of the Amazon and investigate the biogeography of the region, and in particular how major rivers are a barrier to many organisms, including fishes. During this time I got to study many L-numbers and helped discover new species including Pseudolithoxus kinja, the first Pseudolithoxus from the Amazon basin. I am also working on the species diversity of piranhas and pacus, as well as the L-number diversity of catfishes of the Xingu and Tapajós rivers.


At the moment I’m working at the University of Bristol in the UK on a project biomonitoring the distribution of UK marine fishes using only the traces of DNA they leave in the water. Even with such small amounts of this forensic DNA, it’s possible to reconstruct the species list of a given area, and also monitor their migration patterns and changes in abundance over time.


I’m still keeping catfishes, and am particularly interested in African fishes at the moment. However, I will certainly keep L-numbers again in the near future, and would really like to try to breed Lasiancistrus one day …