I am Emeritus Professor of Zoology in the University of Oxford. My research area is behavioural ecology and I have published more than 300 research papers, reviews, articles and books.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Zoology (1966) and my DPhil (1970) at Pembroke College Oxford. After a year as a Departmental Demonstrator in Ornithology at Oxford, I moved to the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor of Ecology (1970-73). I later spent a period at the University College of North Wales in Bangor as lecturer in Zoology (1973-75) before returning to Oxford as University Lecturer in Zoology in the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology. Between 1988 and 2005, I was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford.
I was Chief Executive of the UK Natural Environment Research Council from 1994 to 1999 and the founding Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, I gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. From 2005-2015 I served as Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.
I sit in the House of Lords, as an independent cross-bencher and served as Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee from 2010 to 2014; I currently sit on the Energy and Environment Select Committee. I was President of the British Science Association in 2012-13. Between 2009 and 2017 I was a member of the UK Climate Change Committee and chaired its Adaptation Sub-Committee. I am Deputy Chair of the Nuffield Foundation.