Dr Mark Collins


Mark is a tropical ecologist trained at Oxford University, Imperial College and the Open University. His 40-year career began with research in the savannas and forests of East and West Africa and Southeast Asia, including numerous scientific expeditions. Later he became executive director of environmental and international organisations. Amongst his 11 books and 140 articles and papers, Mark co-authored IUCN Red Data Books on Invertebrates and Swallowtail butterflies and several volumes on tropical rain forests. Currently Chair of the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust, as well as Chair of GCT, he has also served the Darwin Initiative Expert Committee, the Total Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, Wildscreen and the UK Zoo Inspectorate. He was awarded the 2000 Royal Geographical Society Busk Medal “for contributions to conservation policy and research”. Travel in Galapagos has reinforced his commitment to continuing the vital research at the Charles Darwin Research Station and across the Islands.

Jonathan Lea

Honorary Treasurer

Jonathan is a finance professional with wide international experience and an interest in the environment. He was previously Group Finance Director of FTSE 250 textiles business Coats plc and CFO of the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a nonprofit organisation that advises governments on resource efficiency, sustainability and recycling. It was while working in Ecuador in the 1980s that he that he experienced two life-changing events, visiting the Galapagos Islands and meeting his wife, Patricia.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has an MA in Latin American Studies from ILAS in London.

Michael Drake

Vice Chair

Michael is a Solicitor with 40 years` varied commercial, litigation, family law  and other experience in a Central London practice. Over the years, he has also been a non executive director of a number of public and private companies in different sectors, and continues as a non executive of a long established advertising/media group. He has been a trustee of the Born Free Foundation for several years, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Athenaeum. Michael has travelled widely in Africa, Indo China, India, Antarctica, South America (including Ecuador and Galapagos).

Marta Tufet

Marta began her career as a biologist and has a long-standing interest in the part that Galapagos has played in our understanding of evolution. As a half Ecuadorian this is even closer to her heart, and she hopes to make a valuable contribution to help safeguard the islands’ natural heritage. Marta lived in Galapagos whilst working for the Charles Darwin Foundation, where she experienced first-hand the scientific and funding challenges faced by the Galapagos and by researchers more broadly. She chairs GCT’s programmes and grants committee.

She is currently the Executive Director of the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR), which ensures strategic coherence across UK government departments and research funders of international development. Prior to this she has worked at various world-leading organisations developing and implementing research funding partnerships and capacity strengthening initiatives in developing countries. Marta has a research background in malaria with a PhD in parasitology from Imperial College London. She is also a Trustee of the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Simon Dickson

Conservation and the environment have been key elements of Simon’s career as well as personal passions. After completing a degree and PhD in botany, Simon started his career at The Wildlife Trusts before moving on to senior fundraising roles at several world-leading heritage and conservation organisations; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Natural History Museum and Eden Project. Most recently, Simon worked at Unicef UK on a range of special projects including the charity’s unique international partnership with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Simon is also a UK Trustee of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Rebecca Nesbit

Rebecca’s background is ecology, and she studied butterfly migration for her PhD. She has since had a varied career in science communication, both in the charity sector and as a consultant. Projects she has worked on include educational events, ecology citizen science projects, developing education resources and taking Nobel Laureates to inspire students in universities around the world. In her role at the Society of Biology she co-ordinated Biology Week, a celebration of biosciences in the UK and beyond. She has a particular interest in digital communications. Outside work, she is a keen traveller and fiction writer.