Dr Christopher Smart
Associate Professor (Reader) in Palaeontology
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
1997 – Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (University of Plymouth, UK)
1996 – The President's Award, The Geological Society of London
1993 – PhD Micropalaeontology, University of Southampton, UK
1989 – BSc (Hons) Geology, 1st Class, University of Exeter, UK
Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research (Member)
The Micropalaeontological Society (Member)
The Palaeontological Association (Member)
Roles on external bodies
2007–2011: Member of the Editorial Board of Micropaleontology
Teaching in palaeontology, micropalaeontology, palaeoceanography and general geology across the Earth Sciences programmes (undergraduate and postgraduate level). Currently, I teach on the following modules:
• GEOL1001 (The Dynamic Earth) – the fossil record
• GEOL1003 (Geosystems) – atmosphere and oceans
• GEOL1004 (Palaeontology and Stratigraphy) – palaeontology
• ENVS1002 (The Physical Environment) – geology and soils
• Stage 1 tutorials
• GEOL2001 (Sedimentology and Palaeontology) [Module Leader] – aspects of micropalaeontology
• Stage 2 tutorials
• Stage 4 Project Adviser/Tutor (geological mapping, micropalaeontology projects)
Stage 5 (MGeol):
• GEOL5003 (Advanced Analytical Skills) – micropalaeontology
• MGeol Project Adviser – various palaeontology, micropalaeontology and palaeoceanography projects
• MAR514 (Marine Science) – aspects of palaeoceanography
• 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
Staff serving as external examiners
2013 – PhD, University of Plymouth
2006 – PhD, University of Plymouth
2004 – PhD, University College London
2004 – PhD, University of Southampton
2001 – PhD, University of Plymouth
2001 – PhD, University of Southampton
1999 – PhD, University College London
I am interested in past climate and oceanographic change and I use microfossils (mainly foraminifera) to reconstruct past environments on various time scales. My research focusses on the ecology, palaeoecology and taxonomy of benthic and planktic foraminifera, and planktic gastropods. I study the assemblages and geochemical composition of their shells in order to understand the impact of climatic and environmental changes on modern and fossil organisms, particularly during the Neogene and Quaternary.
Current research projects: Streptochilus: morphology and palaeoecology; Miocene palaeoceanography; palaeoceanography of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans during the last 20 kyr; Recent foraminifera from SW England; planktic gastropods; changes in ocean acidification using foraminifera and planktic gastropods.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
2017- present: 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 Viviparus as 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.
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.
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 seminae in 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.
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.
Grants & contracts
2016 NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory (NIGL) support – Smart,C. W. [PI] and Wall-Palmer, D., Shelled heteropods: morphology, molecular taxonomy and global distributions (IP-1598-1115) (£5,200).
2014 Palaeontological Association Undergraduate Research Bursary – Smart, C. W. [Principal Supervisor], additional supervisors: Hart, M. B. and Wall-Palmer, D., student: Curtis Bracher (Stage 2 BSc Geology, PU), Variations in seasonality of productivity over the last 20 kyr in the bathyal NE Atlantic using foraminifera (£1600).
2014-2017 Plymouth University awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant on ‘Shelled heteropods: morphology, molecular taxonomy and global distributions’ (£164,585). Project directed by Dr Christopher Smart (Principal Applicant), Dr Richard Kirby (Marine Institute) (Co-applicant) and Dr Debbie Wall-Palmer (Research Assistant).
2013 Marine Institute Small Collaborative Research Grant, Plymouth University – Smart, C. W. [PI], Hall-Spencer, J. and Hart, M. B., Holocene sea level rise and the separation of Jersey from France. (£5,000).
2013 NERC Research Grant (Directed, Research Programmes, IODP) – Smart, C. W. (PI) High resolution oxygen isotope stratigraphy of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program sites U1394, U1395 and U1396, off-shore Montserrat, Lesser Antilles (NE/K002724/1) (£59,354).
2012 Marine Institute Small Collaborative Research Grant, Plymouth University – Smart, C. W. [PI] and Shapiro, G., Can dense water overflow off continental shelves (cascading) be recognised in the geological past? (£4,775).
2011 NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory (NIGL) support – Smart, C. W., Hart, M. B. and Wall-Palmer, D., The response of pteropod and related faunas to climate change and ocean acidification (IP-1250-0511) (£7,300).
2007 Royal Society Conference Grant – To attend the 9th International Conference on Paleoceanography (ICP9), 3-7 September 2007, Shanghai, China (£1,750).
2006-2008 The Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant – Tephrochronology of marine sediments around the volcanic island of Montserrat, Caribbean Sea (£58,492) - Hart, M. B., Smart, C. W., Price, G. D. and Sparks, S. J.
2004-2005 NERC/UKIODP Rapid Response Award – Miocene deep-sea benthic foraminiferal faunas from a depth transect on the Walvis Ridge, SE Atlantic (ODP Leg 208): palaeoceanographic implications (£965)
2003-2004 Royal Society Research Grant – Quaternary oceanic seasonality (£8,645)
2001-2002 NERC/UKODP Rapid Response Award – A high-resolution comparison of abundance records of planktonic foraminifera and radiolarians during the last 35 kyr from ODP Hole 658C (Leg 108): implications for upwelling intensity (£1,162)
2000-2001 NERC/UKODP Rapid Response Award – Pleistocene climatic history reflected in planktonic foraminifera from ODP Site 1073 (Leg 174A), New Jersey margin, NW Atlantic Ocean (£1,800)
Key publications are highlightedJournals
2015 – The Micropalaeontological Society Foraminifera and Calcareous Nannofossil Groups, Spring Meeting June 2015, Plymouth University, UK (14-18 June 2015) – joint organiser.
2011 – 55th Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting, Plymouth University, UK (17-20 December 2011) – Organising Committee.