Christopher Smart

Academic profile

Dr Christopher Smart

Associate Professor (Reader) in Palaeontology
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Christopher's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 13: SDG 13 - Climate ActionGoal 15: SDG 15 - Life on LandGoal 17: SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

About Christopher

Associate Professor (Reader) in Palaeontology

Stage 1 Earth Sciences Leader

Member of the Marine Institute Strategy Team

Supervised Research Degrees

PhD students:
2017- 2021: Kilian Eichenseer (University of Plymouth), Environmental and ecological drivers of the Phanerozoic evolution of skeletal composition in marine invertebrates. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Third supervisor.
2010-2016: AlEnezi, S. S. M. (University of Plymouth and Saudi Aramco), Micropalaeontological analysis of the lower to mid-Cretaceous succession of Saudi Arabia. Funded by Saudi Aramco. Second supervisor.
2010-2015: Pettit, L. R. (University of Plymouth), Assessing the effects of long-term ocean acidification at volcanic CO2 vents. Funded by NERC UKOARP. Third supervisor.
2009-2014: Leighton, A. D. (University of Plymouth), Benthic foraminiferal change and depositional history across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary in the Brazos River area, Texas. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Director of Studies.
2009-2013: Wall-Palmer, D. (University of Plymouth), The response of pteropod faunas to climate change and ocean acidification. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Director of Studies.
2007-2011: Hanif, M. (University of Plymouth), Stratigraphy and palaeoenvironment of the Palaeocene/Eocene boundary interval in the Indus Basin, Pakistan. Funded by NCEG University of Peshawar Pakistan. Third supervisor.
2006-2011: Bugler, M. (University of Plymouth), An investigation into the use of the freshwater gastropod Viviparusas a recorder of past climatic change. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Third supervisor.
2001-2007: Hudson, W. (University of Plymouth), Evolution and palaeobiogeography of Mesozoic planktonic foraminifera. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Second supervisor.
1998-2002: Oxford, M. J. (University of Plymouth), The distribution of foraminifera in Oxfordian sequences. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Third supervisor.
1996-2000: Hylton, M. D. (University of Plymouth), Microfaunal investigation of the early Toarcian (Lower Jurassic) extinction event in NW Europe. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Second supervisor.
MRes students:
2017-2018: Grace Lamyman (MRes Applied Marine Science), Miocene planktic foraminifera from DSDP Sites 608 (NE Atlantic Ocean) and 237 (NW Indian Ocean): palaeoenvironmental implications.
2014-2015: Jacob Meyers (MRes Applied Marine Science), Seasonal biodiversity of benthic foraminifera from the seagrass meadow of Fowey Estuary.
2012-2013: Amy Sparkes (MRes Applied Marine Science), Sea level during MIS 9: evidence from the Nar Valley, north Norfolk, UK.
2009-2010: Saeed Sadri (MRes Applied Marine Science), A temporal and spatial study of the benthic foraminifera from modern seagrass meadows in Torbay.
2007-2008: Deborah Wall-Palmer (MRes Global Environmental Change), The impact of volcanic deposits from the 2006 eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat on marine microfauna.
2006-2007: Tracy Aze (MRes Global Environmental Change), Experimental acidification and ecology of the benthic foraminifera of Plymouth Sound, England.
Withold Ptak (MRes Global Environmental Change), Pteropod shells in the upper part of the borehole Car Mon 2 near island of Montserrat, Lesser Antilles Volcanic Arc.
2004-2005: Richard Messenger (MRes Global Environmental Change), Late Quaternary pteropod abundances from the carbonate deposits of the Great Bahamas Bank and Montserrat, Caribbean Sea.
Géraldine Le Meur (MRes Global Environmental Change), Southern Ocean ventilation and productivity across the last deglaciation.
2003-2004: Emily Lock (MRes Micropalaeontology), Dating of volcanic deposits off the coast of the island of Montserrat, West Indies.
2002-2003: Paul Tisserant (MRes Micropalaeontology), Early to middle Miocene deep ocean palaeoceanography of the Ceara Rise, western Atlantic Ocean.
2001-2002: Haydon Mort (MRes Global Change), Palaeoceanography, palaeoproductivity and the application of novel inorganic geochemical proxies during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.
MSc students:
2018-2019: Margaret Kitto (MSc Applied Marine Science), Sources of carbonate sediment on beaches in North Cornwall.
2015-2017: William Thornton (MSc Applied Marine Science), An investigation of the occurrence of benthic foraminifera in the water column at station L4, south of Plymouth.
2010-2011: Iain Posnett (MSc Applied Marine Science), Palaeoecology of the Late Permian mass extinction and recovery: Southwest Japan.
2009-2010: Rodoulla Diakou (MSc Marine Geosciences), Palaeomagnetic analysis of the Pliocene marine sedimentary rocks of the Nicosia Formation of southern and northern Cyprus.
2008-2009: Nikki Khanna (MSc Marine Micropalaeontology), Foraminiferal response to late Eocene climate change in the Southern Ocean.
Andrew Leighton (MSc Marine Micropalaeontology), The micropalaeontology of the K/Pg boundary at Kulstirenden, Stevns Klint, Denmark.
2007-2008: Thomas Gregory (MSc Global Environmental Change), A multiproxy approach to Arctic sea-ice during the Holocene.
Nathan Weekes (MSc Applied Marine Science), The early recolonisation of the sea floor by deep-sea foraminifera following pyroclastic deposition during the 2006 Soufrière Hills (Montserrat) volcanic eruption.
2006-2007: Kenny Scott (MSc Global Environmental Change), The occurrence of the North Pacific diatom Neodenticula seminaein the North Atlantic during the Pleistocene with a correlation to planktonic foraminifera at ODP Site 963.
2005-2006: Iain Leighton (MSc Global Environmental Change), A foraminiferal study of Cuban mangrove sediments.
Rebecca Meyrick (MSc Global Environmental Change), Dating the cessation of activity for a volcanic centre in the Caribbean Sea: a micropalaeontological approach.
Jennifer Wiggins (MSc Global Environmental Change), The impact of the eruptions of the Soufrière Hills Volcano (Montserrat) on the sea floor foraminiferal biota.
Elizabeth Wilson (MSc Global Environmental Change), Changes in productivity shown by foraminifera in the Southern Ocean during the late Eocene.
2004-2005: Alice Howard (MSc Applied Marine Science), Planktonic foraminiferal abundance fluctuations during the late Pleistocene in the area around Montserrat.
2000-2001: Jennifer Hardwick (MSc Applied Marine Science), Using planktonic foraminifera to identify the Gulf Stream, near the New Jersey continental slope: an application for Pleistocene sediments.
MGeol students:
2021-2022: Lauren Perrett (MGeol), Mid-late Miocene benthic foraminifera and palaeoceanography of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific.
2016-2017: Luke Stanley (MGeol), Using planktic foraminifera to track North Atlantic climatic variability during the last 15kyr. 
2014-2015: Daniel Styles (MGeol), The Little Snowy Mountains Sauropod: a taphonomical study.
2011-2012: Thomas Gooding (MGeol), Palaeoecological change through the late Permian of East Greenland. 
Robbie Moore (MGeol), Quantifying the rotation history of the Troodos Ophiolite: palaeomagnetism in chalks, lavas and umbers in central Cyprus. 
Avalon Snider (MGeol), Reconstruction of the palaeoenviromental changes across the Miocene-Pliocene boundary in the Hatay Graben, southern Turkey.
2008-2009: Alexander Johnstone (MGeol), A palaeoenvironmental analysis of the benthic foraminifera from the Hatay Graben in southern Turkey.
Brett Metcalfe (MGeol), The Lilliput effect: growth rates and longevity in ‘Lilliput’ animals in the aftermath of the Late Permian extinction event. 
2006-2007: Giles Potter (MGeol), The size of dragonflies through time.
2005-2006: Danielle Foy (MGeol), Micropalaeontological analysis of late Pleistocene planktonic foraminifera gathered from the Montserrat area, Lesser Antilles Arc.


Teaching in palaeontology, micropalaeontology, palaeoceanography and general geology across the Earth Sciences programmes (undergraduate and postgraduate level). Currently, I teach on the following modules:

Stage 1:
• ENVS1002 (The Physical Environment)
• GEOL1010 (Climate, Tectonics and Hazards)
• GEOL1011 (Life and Death of an Ocean)
• Stage 1 tutorials

Stage 2:

• GEOL2016 (Ocean Geoscience) Module Leader

• GEOL2014 (The Earth’s Surface and Critical Zone)

• Stage 2 tutorials

Stage 4:
• Stage 4 Project Adviser/Tutor (micropalaeontology and palaeoceanography projects)

Stage 5 (MGeol):
• MGeol Project Adviser – various palaeontology, micropalaeontology and palaeoceanography projects

• MAR514 (Marine Science)
• MSc/MRes Project Adviser: on average 1–2 students per year (MSc Applied Marine Science; previously: MSc/MRes Global Environmental Change; MSc/MRes Marine Micropalaeontology, MSc/MRes Marine Geosciences) – various palaeontology, micropalaeontology and palaeoceanography projects
• Stage 1 Earth Sciences fieldwork, SW England 
• Stage 1 Earth Sciences residential field-trip to Cornwall and Dorset [Field-trip Leader 2008-2015]
• Stage 1 Earth Sciences and PGG residential field-trip to Cornwall [Field-trip Leader to SW Wales 2004-2007]
• Stage 2 Earth Sciences residential field-trip to Pembrokeshire, SW Wales
• Stage 2 Earth Sciences fieldwork, SW England

Contact Christopher

B419 Portland Square, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
+44 1752 584764