Professor Anjali Goswami is a comparative biologist of international renown, whose academic contributions span the life and earth sciences. She is a Research Leader in Life Sciences and Dean of Postgraduate Education at the Natural History Museum and Honorary Professor of Palaeobiology at University College London. Anjali is a leader in the field of phenomics - using big data from morphology to elucidate patterns across major transitions in evolutionary history, particularly in vertebrates. Her academic achievements have been recognised by several awards - the Linnean Bicentenary Medal in 2016, the Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal in 2018, and most recently the Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award from the NRI Welfare Society of India in 2020. In addition to her outstanding academic record and profile as a spokesperson for the science of natural history, she brings a wealth of experience and service to the Society, including a passion for promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM subjects. Professor Goswami possesses the unique combination of skills and experience to lead the Linnean Society through its next phase of development, where support for diversity and academic rigour will be equally necessary. Her international profile and superb communication skills will provide the Society with an inspirational and dynamic leader as President.
The Society's Vice Presidents are Robbie Blackhall-Miles, Dr Isabel Larridon and Dr Howard Nelson. (For bios, see 'Council'.)
Edward Banks has a degree in Philosophy & Theology from Oxford University and is an investment banker with over 20 years’ experience of advising some of Europe’s largest companies on financial and strategic matters. He is currently a Senior Managing Director at Evercore, having previously worked at J. P. Morgan and Flemings. Prior to becoming a banker, he spent five years as a corporate lawyer at Slaughter and May in London. Edward is also passionate about the environment, owning Hergest Croft Gardens in Herefordshire, which holds the UK National Collections of Maples, Birches and Zelkovas.
Professor Jonathan Drori CBE is on the board of Cambridge University Botanic Garden; a Trustee of The Eden Project and Cambridge Science Centre; an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust and the WWF; and Honorary Professor of Public Engagement at Birmingham University’s Institute for Forest Research. He spent nine years as a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Woodland Trust, and chaired the UK Parliament’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement. In a previous life he was a documentary filmmaker and Executive Producer with the BBC, responsible for more than fifty popular science and education documentaries and series. He is also an acclaimed author (Around the World in 80 Trees and Around the World in 80 Plants) and speaker on botanical topics.
Dr Mark Watson is Head of Major Floras at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and has researched the floras of Asia, principally China and Nepal, and in connection with the latter has made extensive use of the Linnean Society’s collections: herbarium specimens, printed works and archives. While doing this he has gained a deep insight into the range and value of the collections, as well as adding to its interpretation. Most notably his research has revealed the remarkable contribution of Dr Francis Buchanan-Hamilton on the botany of Nepal.
Professor Stuart West has been Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Oxford since 2009. He is an evolutionary biologist interested in adaptation, evolution of social behaviours, and how these can influence evolutionary transitions. Alongside nearly 300 published works, he has published two books. Stuart currently serves on the editorial board for theAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. He has won the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Zoology (2006), Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London (2006), and the rising star award from the late Duke of Edinburgh. He has experience editing a wide range of high-impact international journals, and extensive knowledge of disseminating scientific information across a range of forums, from traditional to digital media.
Council Members constitute the Trustees of the Society and are elected from the Fellowship. Trustees are both jointly and individually responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the Society, its financial health, the probity of its activities and developing its aims, objectives and goals in accordance with the governing documents, legal and regulatory guidelines. They generally meet four times a year. Full details are available in the Trustee Role Description.
Professor Paul Barrett
Professor Paul Barrett is a vertebrate palaeobiologist specialising in the evolutionary palaeobiology of dinosaurs and other extinct amniotes. His work extends to macroevolutionary mechanisms, the evolution of Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems and potential biases in the fossil record. He is a recognised leader in dinosaur palaeobiology and is active in both public education and outreach and in leadership in numerous organisations, including roles in the executive councils of the Palaeontological Association, the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology, and the Palaeontographical Society. He has extensive experience in editing academic journals, including serving as co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, and the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology, and on the editorial boards of Palaeobiology, Scientific Reports, Biological Reviews, Biology Letters, Palaeontology, Geological Magazine, and Palaeoworld.
Robbie Blackhall-Miles is one of a new generation of innovative horticulturalists blending gardening and conservation. He has held positions in practical conservation NGOs such as the RSPB, he sits on both the Global Conservation Consortium for Erica and the Nagoya Protocol working group for UK horticulture. He is involved in restoration and conservation projects near his home in Snowdonia and further afield. Robbie brings a wealth of expertise with the conservation NGO sector, and a field-focused perspective to the study of natural history. He also brings a perspective on diversity of both people and science outside the academic sector. His commitment to issues arising from the planetary emergency means he will be able to play a key role in this newly established Linnean Society initiative.
Dr Rich Boden
Dr Rich Boden is Reader in Microbial Physiology and Taxonomy at the University of Plymouth specializing in the Bacteria and Archaea. His research encompasses nomenclature, taxonomy, systematics, genomics, bioinformatics, enzymology, physiology, biochemistry and bioenergetics. He has applied these to industrial work on biogas production, wastewater treatment and mining. He brings experience in recruitment, marketing and a proven commitment to equality, diversity, dignity and inclusivity (EDDI) in science and society. He is an active contributor to the Society, notably in our celebration of the first female fellows (2018), and organises the Annual Plymouth Linnean Lectures (2013-). Editor-in-Chief of FEMS Microbiology Letters (2014-), and active within the Federation in publishing and EDDI, earning him the 2020 FEMS Special Merit Award.
Professor Brycchan Carey
Brycchan Carey is Professor of English at Northumbria University. His research is centred on the period 1650–1850 and focuses on cultures of empire, slavery, and antislavery on the one hand, and cultures of natural history on the other, demonstrating the relation between the two in an expanding empire in which slave trading and bioprospecting went hand in hand. He will bring to Council his experience of working with scholarly societies, his interest in the relationship between culture and science in viewing natural history in its colonial contexts, and his interest in regional natural history. His expertise in the diverse histories of natural history will further embed regional, national, cultural, and ethnic diversity into the Society’s daily practice.
Andrea Hart is the Library Special Collections Manager at the Natural History Museum, London. She has leadership responsibility for the Library's Special Collections and Archives Division and related support to internal and external Library and Archive users. She leads on the development, digitisation, collections care, security, promotion and access of the Library's Special collections which include the extensive rare book, manuscript and artwork collections. She plays an active role in public outreach including the development of the temporary exhibitions in the Museum’s Images of Nature Gallery and publication of books on the collections alongside seeking new ways to further develop and promote the collections through securing grants, sponsorship and provision of support to the NHM’s Development and Commercial activities. An expert advisor to Arts Council England, she represents the NHM Library as a Linnaeus Link Union Catalogue partner and is a long-time supporter of the Society having been a member of its Collections Committee since 2015, providing valuable counsel on issues such as external loans of the collections, acquisitions, disaster planning, and collection management.
Dr Blanca Huertas
Dr Blanca Huertas is an entomologist specialising in Neotropical Lepidoptera. She is senior curator of Lepidoptera at the Natural History Museum, where she has been instrumental in establishing international partnerships for the study of these diverse insects. She is the author of peer-reviewed publications on the biogeography and systematics of butterflies, and of several field guides that facilitate their use for biodiversity monitoring. She has been actively involved in biodiversity capacity building in post-conflict Colombia, using butterflies and their study as an alternative resource towards a sustainable bioeconomy. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in a wide variety of journals and books, including description of several new Colombian insects. Her interests are in butterfly conservation and monitoring, species-level taxonomy, and in the production of field guides for use by a wide variety of publics.
Dr Isabel Larridon
Dr Isabel Larridon leads Accelerated Taxonomy department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her research focuses on the evolution, biodiversity and conservation of African and Madagascan plants with particular emphasis on the Cyperaceae or sedge family. Isabel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Biology at Ghent University in Belgium, and supports the organisation of the MSc in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation organised by RBG Kew and Queen Mary University of London. She regularly publishes in specialist journals and leads research programmes on plant and fungal taxonomy in Madagascar, and on the Cyperaceae and Compositae families. She is also exploring the use of machine learning in taxonomy. She contributes to the community as a member of the IUCN-SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group and the West Africa Plant Red List Authority. She also carries out editorial duties for Kew Bulletin and Plant Ecology and Evolution.
Fiona McWilliams has since 2005 gained great experience in institutional fundraising and development in the natural history and education sector after a successful career in media public relations. While at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from 2005–2007 she raised funds for the Treetop Walkway and Marianne North Gallery. After almost eight years as Director of External Relations and Development at SOAS, Fiona moved to the Natural History Museum, London (NHM) in 2015 as Director of Development. At NHM she led successful profile-raising and fundraising campaigns to finalise the dramatic reimagination of the Museum’s main central gallery and further its ambitious Urban Nature Project, amongst other programme and revenue fundraising. Fiona is currently Interim Director of Development at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.
Dr Howard Nelson
Dr Howard P. Nelson is a conservation biologist with a broad expertise base, ranging from on-the-ground interventions to influencing governments to effect change to benefit the natural world. His speciality includes birds and mammals of the Caribbean, where he has worked for over 25 years to survey species diversity and abundance and to model responses to climate change of the wildlife habitats in these fragile landscapes.
He has worked in the university sector in both the UK and Trinidad, for the government of Trinidad and Tobago and in the NGO sector with Fauna and Flora International. He currently serves as chair of the Darwin Plus Advisory Group of DEFRA, is a trustee of the Global Biodiversity Foundation, and is a member of the IPBES Data and Knowledge Task Force. He currently lectures on the MPhil in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography and is a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge.
Professor Michael J. Reiss
Professor Michael J. Reiss did his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences and then a PhD and post-doc in evolutionary biology and population genetics at Cambridge. He then trained to be a schoolteacher, spending six years in secondary and six years in primary teacher training. He is currently Professor of Science Education at UCL Institute of Education, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Visiting Professor at the Royal Veterinary College, Honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers, Docent at the University of Helsinki, President of the International Society for Science & Religion, President of the International Association for Science and Religion in Schools, and a Priest in the Church of England. His academic interests are in science education, sex education and bioethics.
Philip Sadler began his career as a scientist with the National Forensic Service, later moving to the world of finance and accountancy, where he was the senior accountant for the Metropolitan Police. In the early 2000s Philip was the bursar for two educational charities, running all finance and business operations. He brings a wealth of financial experience from the public and charitable sector, along with experience of serving on the finance committees of major charities. His past responsibility for a significant portfolio of buildings and estates would bring these skills to Council, especially in this difficult time in relation to our occupancy of New Burlington House and the necessity of developing alternative scenarios for the future.
Professor Kathy Willis
Baroness Willis has for nearly 20 years been Professor of Biodiversity in the Long-Term Ecology Lab at the University of Oxford, where she founded the Biodiversity Institute. She served on the UK Government’s Natural Capital Committee which contributed to developing the 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP). Kathy is an internationally respected expert on long-term biodiversity change trends and investigation of their causes and consequences. She previously served as the Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with responsibility for implementing long-term science strategy and day-to-day management. Kathy has held research and teaching posts at the University of Cambridge and been a WWF Trustee. She is a passionate advocate for biodiversity-related issues with extensive public engagement experience.
The Society aims to maintain a balance between the different branches of biology, by convention the Presidency alternates between a zoologist and a botanist/mycologist, as do several of the Society’s prizes.
The Society aims to be open and transparent in its elections. Full details of candidates for election to Council are published in the Anniversary Meeting Agenda and any member who has been admitted and attends the Anniversary Meeting can vote. Council members are carefully briefed on their duties as Trustees of the Society which is a registered charity No. 220509.
The Chief Executive Officer is happy to answer any questions about the governance of the Society.