Peter studied botany and zoology and obtained a PhD researching the ecology of native Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in conifer forests in the UK. His research career focused on conservation issues in mammals such as the red squirrel, arctic foxes, mustelids and bats; as well as the application of geographic information systems and spatially explicit population models in species management and disease spread. The latter has led to collaborative projects on squirrels and disease such as the project on leprosy in red squirrels. He teaches for the master courses on Conservation Medicine and One Health at Edinburgh University focussing on ecology, alien species, ecosystem health and ecosystem services.
Peter's current projects, aside from his involvement in the squirrel leprosy project, include red squirrel monitoring in Kidland and Usway Forest in the Cheviots in collaboration with the Forestry Commision England, modelling of squirrel population dynamics in relation to management and disease spread in collaboration with Prof Andy White (Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh), and the assessment of impact of forest operations on protected red squirrel populations in northern Scotland in collaboration wiht Dr. Louise de Raad (Inverness College, University of the Highlands and Islands) and Forest Enterprise Scotland.
Additionally, he is involved in a collaboration that attempts to bring mechantronics and biology together to improve wildlife monitoring. He is co-author of several Ecology and Natural History books.