Murray Collins

WOW! Can't believe it!!!!! :) :) :) :)

Favourite Thing: Fieldwork! I love wondering around in the rainforest and seeing what interesting animals and plants I can find. But I also get tired and really hungry being in the middle of nowhere, so I look forward to going to a town to have a rest and some nice food too.



Doddinghurst Junior School 1987-91; Brentwood County High 1991-2; Brentwood School 1992-98.


*University College London: BSc Biological Anthropology & Geography; *La Sorbonne Paris V (ERASMUS term abroad); *Imperial College London MSc Conservation Science; *PhD (currently) Institute of Zoology and The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Work History:

My best jobs have been in Indonesia working for National Geographic; and in Gabon working for the Department of Climate Change, Government of Gabon. But I’ve done other stuff too like running a little start-up education company, and was also self-employed photographer for a while (I still love photography!)


I am very lucky to be funded by NERC-ESRC to work at The Institute of Zoology and The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Current Job:

I’m currently working full time on my PhD. Here’s my personal webpage: I am funded by NERC-ESRC (

Me and my work

I’m trying to understand how tropical rainforests can be better managed to reduce carbon emissions, and to keep a place for wildlife to live.

My Typical Day

In the jungle: wake, start a fire and cook breakfast, go looking for exciting animals. In London I’m at the zoo or LSE reading and writing.

What I'd do with the money

If I won the money I would use it to buy a special video camera so I could show people what it’s like to walk around in the jungle. I really want to get a head-cam, which is a special video camera you wear on your head, leaving both hands free to carry stuff and hold onto trees when you’re falling over, and getting stuck in the mud…maybe one like this:

I think this would be really cool as sometimes it’s hard to imagine what it’s like being in a remote rainforest. This is a video I made last December when I went to visit my study site in Sumatra:



My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

impatient, friendly, outgoing

Who is your favourite singer or band?

If I’m going out, like stuff like Swedish House Mafia. Last music I bought was the LA crash album which is mostly Mark Isham. If I’m in the gym I’ll put something like Muse on. I’m listening to Dizzee (Maths&English) as I write this.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Went to Ibiza last summer with a big group of my mates!!!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1. Work – wish I was better at maths. 2. Personally – wish I was going out with Mila Kunis. 3. I wish I had better teeth.

What did you want to be after you left school?

An explorer. I left school, got a job in my local town, saved up for 6 months, then bought a ticket flying into Mexico, return flight from Peru.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

A few times…but generally I was quite good.

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Measuring three thousand trees in Gabon. This might sound a bit weird, but the data my field team and I collected was then analysed and presented by Ali Ben Bongo, the President of Gabon at the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. It made me feel like all those months wandering around in the jungle, getting soaking wet, being chased by elephants and being continually bitten by insects was worthwhile!

Tell us a joke.

Hmm…prefer amusing quotes. Bessie Braddock (to Winston Churchill): “Winston, you’re drunk”. Churchill: “Bessie, you’re ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober”. Bessie (furious): ‘If you were my husband I’d poison your drink!’ Churchill’s reply: ‘Madam, if I was your husband I’d drink it’.