Phil has always had a keen interest in amphibians since a very early age, but growing up in the UK his interests were stifled by the low diversity of amphibians in Britain. After completing a BSc (Hons) and a MSc degree in Zoology at Cardiff University (UK) he was keen to pursue a research career involving amphibians, and completed his PhD on amphibian communication at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa under the supervision of Dr Neville Passmore.
His PhD involved the behavioural ecology of several species of African amphibians, as well as E.coqui in Puerto Rico in collaboration with the late Professor Margaret Stewart. During his field work in South Africa he discovered and named a new species of frog, Anhydrophryne ngongoniensis (Bishop and Passmore 1993). Phil spent 15 years in South Africa and led a group on amphibian communication biology.
As a response to the global crisis of declining amphibian populations and the realisation that no amphibian surveys had been conducted in southern Africa, he initiated the Southern African Frog Atlas Project in 1995. This was the first time that an atlas of frogs had been attempted on a national scale. He launched the project intending that all the 2000 quarter degree grid squares in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho were surveyed for frogs and their abundance estimated so it could be determined whether it was necessary to be worried about the frog populations in southern Africa. The project took nearly ten years to complete and was published in 2004 and incorporated the findings of several new species and a red data list.
His interest in frog communication, particularly in 'earless' frogs brought him to New Zealand where he now resides. Since 1995, his interests have become increasingly involved with frog conservation and causes of frog declines and as well as the study of the biology of rare and unusual (and sometimes 'earless') frogs. His current research has three main strands -
For a complete list of publications please go to my Google Citations