Ms Alison Smith

Ms Alison Smith

Lecturer in Citizen Science

School of Biological Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Lecturer in Citizen Science

My teaching includes undergraduate and postgraduate level teaching on citizen science, science communication and public engagement with science. I have five years experience of working on citizen science projects, including the national Open Air Laboratories programme ( I have been involved in the design of citizen science initiatives such as the national OPAL Tree Health Survey, and Plymouth Woodland Project. 

My teaching also includes ecology and the physical environment, forest ecology, plant ecology and plant diversity.

Student Support Tutor for School of Biological Sciences

I am the pastoral support tutor for students in the school, and I chair the Biological Sciences staff-student liaison committee.

OPAL South-West PI

I am the principal investigator for OPAL South-West:

Through OPAL we are currently working on a co-created citizen science initiative investigating brownfield sites in Cornwall's china clay country. 

PhD research:
Research involves using a range of monitoring techniques to investigate forest ecosystem dynamics, with the aim of identifying effective, low-cost and efficient methods that can enable more widespread monitoring of forest ecosystems to help predict response to environmental change.

PhD title:
"Woodland Ecology in a Changing World: effective monitoring of ecosystem dynamics in relation to climate change"

Project supervisors:
Dr Paul Ramsay (Director of Studies)
Dr Miguel Franco (2nd supervisor)

Funding: Self-funded


BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, 1st class, Plymouth University, 2007

Roles on external bodies

Principal Investigator for OPAL South-West ( 

Grants & contracts

2013-2015: 2-year 'Your Heritage' grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run 'The Plymouth Woodland Project'

Stagg BC, Donkin ME and Smith AS (2015). Bryophytes for Beginners: The usability of a printed dichotomous key versus a multi-access computer-based key for bryophyte identification. Journal of Biological Education 49(3) 274-287.