Dr Meriel FitzPatrick

Dr Meriel FitzPatrick

Lecturer in Earth Sciences (Education)

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Personal Tutor for Stage 0 ,1 and 2 students and Project Advisor for Stage 4 dissertations.

Programme Leader for Foundation Year (SoGEES)  

Module Leader for FYM006 (Sustainable Development Project)

Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS) Co-ordinator for Earth Sciences.

Member of the following committees:  SoGEES Teaching and Learning Committee (2017 to date);

                               SoGEES Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee (2019 to date)



Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, University of Plymouth 2009

Ph.D. in Geology , University of Plymouth, 1992. "Turonian dinoflagellate cyst assemblages from southern England."

M.Sc. in Palynology University of Sheffield, 1988. "A study of Lower Cretaceous palynomorphs from the Porcupine Basin, offshore western Ireland."

B.A. Mod.(Hons) Natural Sciences (Geology) Trinity College Dublin, 1986



Teaching interests


  • I have extensive teaching experience at undergraduate level (Stages 0-4) in various aspects of geology and this has involved the preparation and presentation of lectures/practical classes in stratigraphy, palaeontology, palynology and sedimentology.  
  • I am a Personal tutor to students in stages 0-4. Part of this role involves supporting students and helping them develop the skills/learning strategies they need for university, enabling them to be successful.   
  • Supporting and teaching students on fieldwork is another important part of my current position, which I thoroughly enjoy. I assist in the staffing and leadership of residential field-trips and local day trips for students at all levels. Residential field-trips I have been involved with include South West England (Stage 1), the Pyrenees and Pembrokeshire (Stage 2), Death Valley (Stage 3) and local day trips for students at all levels.
  • I am active in helping the University with its outreach activities, running workshops/lectures for schools and have organised displays and exhibits for various events, more recently running workshops and a fieldtrip for Girls into Geoscience. Working with the next generation of scientists is very rewarding and I hope to inspire at least some of them.



Research interests

Whilst my Ph.D. concentrated on a study of Cretaceous dinoflagellate cysts, my research has also investigated Quaternary assemblages, from the Southern Ocean. I am interested in various aspects of palynology, particularly the application of palynological methods (dinoflagellate cysts and palynofacies) to elucidate palaeoenvironmental conditions. I have since worked on various projects including the K-Pg boundary succession in Denmark and Lower Cretaceous sediments from Svalbard.

To further my research I have become involved in the supervision of Masters and Ph.D. level projects with palynological components. I wish to continue this further and use my research to inform my teaching in palynology.

In addition, I have been involved in pedagogical research into students’ learning experiences. This project developed mobile technological support for students in fieldwork, at Kingsand and at Coverack, the Lizard, Cornwall.

 I remain interested in various aspects of palynology, particularly the application of palynological methods to elucidate palaeoenvironmental conditions. 



FitzPatrick, M.E.J., Anderson, M.W., & Truscott, J,  (in prep.) Peer Assisted Experiential Learning (PAEL) in extending fieldwork practice in the Earth Sciences, Planet, GEES

 Harland,R., FitzPatrick, M.E.J. & Pudsey, C., 1999.  Latest Quaternary dinoflagellate cyst climatostratigraphy for three cores from the Falkland Trough, Scotia and Weddell seas, Southern Ocean. Review of Palaeobotany & Palynology, 107, 265-281

 Harland, R., Pudsey, C., Howe, J.A, &  FitzPatrick, M.E.J. 1998.  Recent  dinoflagellate cysts in a transect from the Falklands Trough to the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Palaeontology, 41 (6), 1093-1131, 2 pls.

FitzPatrick, M.E.J. 1996. The recovery of Turonian dinoflagellate cyst assemblages from the effects of the oceanic anoxic event at the end of the Cenomanian. in: Hart, M.B. (ed.) Biotic Response to Mass Extinctions, Special Publication of the Geol. Soc. of  London, 102, pp. 279-297.

Hart, M.B. & FitzPatrick, M.E.J. 1995.  Kimmeridgian palaeoenvironments: a micropalaeontological perspective. Proceedings of the Usher Society, 8 (4), pp. 433-436.

 FitzPatrick, M.E.J. 1995.  Dinoflagellate cyst biostratigraphy from the Turonian of  southern England. Cretaceous Research, 16, pp. 757-791.

 Hart, M.B., Rajshekhar, C., FitzPatrick, M., Milton, J.A., & Wadsworth, A.J., 1991. The Early Aptian Transgressive event in the United Kingdom.  Historical Biology, 5, pp.309-319