Dr Meriel FitzPatrick

Dr Meriel FitzPatrick

Lecturer in Earth Sciences (Education)

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


Skills tutor for 1st and 2nd year Geology and Earth Science students


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 am involved primarily with the planning and delivering of tutorials for 1st and 2nd year Geology and Earth Science students.  The tutorials concentrate on general skills (e.g.finding information, sumarising data, writing essays, making presentations etc.) which the students need for their university career.  I also introduce and follow up the development of a PDP in the tutorials. 

 I have extensive teaching experience at undergraduate level in various aspects of geology and on the Micropalaeontology M.Sc. course at Plymouth. This has involved the preparation and presentation of lectures and practical classes in palaeontology, palynology and sedimentology.   I also assist in the running of residential field-trips and local day trips for Stage 1 and 2 geoscience students. I have advised on final year students’ projects where my expertise has been appropriate. My main role recently has been to plan and deliver tutorial modules for Stage 1and 2 geoscience students, developing students’ skills and learning strategies for university.  I am Module Leader for four of these modules, being responsible for the smooth running, delivery and administration of them.  I really enjoy engaging with the students and building up a rapport with them.  I am active in helping the University with its outreach activities, running workshops/lectures for schools and have organised displays and exhibits for Explore the Outdoors (March 2010) and talks/workshops for National Science and Engineering Week (2008 - 2010).  Working with the next generation of scientists is very rewarding and I hope to inspire at least some of them.

Research interests

In recent years I have become interested in how students learn and have been active in developing mobile support for students in the field.  This has resulted in contributions to conferences through talks and a field workshop.  These methods are currently being developed for other field sites.  Whilst my Ph.D. concentrated on a study of Cretaceous dinoflagellate cysts, my research has also investigated Quaternary assemblages.  I am still interested in various aspects of palynology, particularly the application of palynological methods to elucidate palaeoenvironmental conditions. 

Research groups

  • Palaeontology and Palaeoenvironments

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



School of Earth, Ocean and Environmental Sciences