My team is interested in the phylogeography, diversity and evolution of amphibians and reptiles of tropical Africa, especially Central Africa, and in particular the Congolian rainforest. Our research provides insights into the history of species, including their distribution, and enables the discovery and description of new species. Field research also helps us understand potential threats to species and ecosystems.
Industrial logging and mining are a major problem in Central Africa. I have personally seen how a site in the Congo has changed in five years. Foreign companies have started logging and mineral extraction and in some places have turned the habitat from pristine forest into ruins. Local human populations gained better roads, but lost much of their forest, which they used for sustainable traditional hunting and gathering of herbs. Large animals, including the iconic gorillas and elephants, have disappeared from their forests, and the diversity of small animals such as amphibians has also declined.