Every morning, ecologist Tim Blackburn is inspired by the diversity contained within the moth trap he runs on the roof of his London flat. Beautiful, ineffably mysterious organisms, these moths offer a glimpse into a larger order, one that extends beyond individual species of moth, beyond lepidoptera or insects, and into a hidden landscape.
Just as Michael Faraday’s iron filings arrange themselves to articulate a magnetic field that would otherwise be invisible, Tim shows us that when we pay proper attention to these tiny animals, their relationships with one another, and their connections to the wider web of life, a greater truth about the world gradually emerges into focus. In The Jewel Box, Tim reflects on what he has learned in the last thirty years of work as a scientist studying ecosystems and demonstrates how the contents of one small box can illuminate the workings of all nature.
Professor Tim Blackburn is a scientist with thirty years of experience studying questions about the distribution, abundance and diversity of species in ecological assemblages. He is currently a Professor of Invasion Biology at University College London, where his work focuses on alien species. Before that, he was the Director of the Institute of Zoology, the research arm of the Zoological Society of London.