Academic Staff

Professor David J. Smith Director of Coral Reef Research Unit, Employability Development Director, Course Director MSc Tropical Marine Biology (SP & SU)

Position in departmentEmployability Development Director
Staff positionProfessor of Marine Biology
Telephone01206 872242
Current research

Current Research Students

Mr Adam Gouraguine

Mr Eslam Osman

Ms Sophie Stephenson 

Ms Leila Tavallali

Ms Bethan Greenwood

Ms Reem Almealla

Ms Synthesa Ksatrya 

Research interests

Google Scholar Profile 

ORCHID ID 0000-0003-1886-8193 

Tropical Marine Biology and Conservation
I am interested in many different aspects of tropical marine biology and in particular coral reef biology, ecology and management. My research is most often based overseas in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. However our laboratory also has state-of-the-art coral reef aquaria within which we are able to manipulate environmental conditions. The aquarium facility consists of 27 experimental tanks, two large holding tanks and separate fragmentation tanks and currently holds several hundred coral colonies across a large number of species. My research is varied but is fundamentally focused on identifying management options for coral reefs threatened by overexploitation and climate change and thus activities are trans-disciplinary and diverse. Research ranges from specific physiological studies of the stress responses of corals through to the socio-economic implications of reduced tropical marine resources. We have a very vibrant research group that has access to numerous School research facilities as well as field sites across the globe. As a group we aim to increase global knowledge of the importance and threats to tropical marine ecosystems, to ensure we maximise how our research efforts benefit wider society, and to undertake high quality research that underpins conservation management actions and policy. If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me directly or go the CRRU web page.

Past and present PGR students include:

  • Florini, Stella (2004): Water Pollution
  • Perkins, Nicola (2005): Water Pollution
  • Pilgrim, Sarah (2007): Ecoliteracy
  • Cullen, Leanne (2007): Reef Economics
  • Unsworth, Richard (2007): Seagrass and Mangrove Connectivity
  • McMellor, Steven (2008): Coral reef conservation
  • Miller, Layla (2009): Shellfisheries
  • Hennige, Sebastian (2009): Coral photophysiology
  • Salinas De Leon, Pelayo (2010): Coral recruitment
  • Sedlmayr, Ambra (2011): Rural economies
  • Green, Benjamin (2011): Coastal vegetated systems
  • Bharucha. Zareen (2011): Watershed development
  • Curtis-Quick, Jocelyn (2012): Coral reef fish ecology
  • Brading, Patrick (2012): Coral physiology and ocean acidification
  • Powell, Abigail (2012): Coral reef sponge ecology
  • Hine, Rachel (2014): Care farming
  • Franco, Chiara (2014): Coral reef production.
  • Piercy, Julius (2014): Coral reef acoustics 
  • Walsh-Sarah-Jane ( 2015): Coral bleaching 
  • Camp, Emma (2015): Coral reefs and ocean acidification
  • Chamberlain, Jon (2015): Coral reef ecology
  • Boschetti, Simona (2015): Coral recruitment
  • Osman, Eslam (2017): Red Sea corals and climate change
  • Tavallali, Leila (Active): Blue Carbon and temperate saltmarshes
  • Gouraguine, Adam (Active): Coral reef benthic – pelagic coupling
  • Urrutia Figueroa, Victor E (Active). Coral Host - Zooxanthellae relationships
  • Biggerstaff,  Andy (Active): Coral Bioeroding sponges: Hosted by UoV, NZ.
  • Marlow, Joe (Active): Coral reef invading sponge: Hosted by UoV,  NZ
  • McGrath, Emily (Active). Xestospongia ecophysiology: Hosted by UoV,  NZ 
  • Ms Sophie Stephenson (Active): Coral larval production and development
  • Ms Bethen Greenword (Active): The coral microbiome and stress tolerance
  • Ms Reem Almealla (Acvtive): Corals of Bahrain
  • Ms Synthesa Ksatrya (Active): Indonesia's ocean policy

Teaching responsibilities

 I teach a range of subjects within Marine Biology both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels:


  1. BS213: Marine Biology Field Course (Module Supervisor)
  2. BS254: Marine and Freshwater Vertebrates (Module supervisor)
  3. BS255: Coral Reef Biology (Module supervisor)
  4. BS256: Sulawesi Coral Reef Field Course  (Module supervisor)
  5. BS257: Career Development & Research Skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists (Module Supervisor)


  1. BS702: Natural Resources
  2. BS705: Tropical Marine resources  (Module Supervisor)
  3. BS705 (OPTIONAL): Coral Reef Conservation Management Field Course to Indonesia (course supervisor) 
  4. BS706: Tropical Marine Systems (Module Supervisor)
  5. BS707: Marine Practical Skills
  6. BS708: Professional Skills in Tropical Marine Biology 

PublicationsLink to publications for David J. Smith
Additional information
  • Director of the Coral Reef Research Unit
  • Associate Editor of Global Change Biology
  • Editor Indonesian Journal of Coral reefs
  • Editor "Biosciences"
  • Director of Marine Research for Operation Wallacea
  • Principle Investigator for and member of the Coral Aquarist Research Network, NERC.
  • Senior Scientific Advisor to the Wakatobi Government, Indonesia
  • Scientific Advisor to the Seychelles National Parks Authority
  • Scientific Advisor to Institute of Marine Environmental Research of the Aegean (IMERAS).
  • Senior Scientific Advisor to Archipelagos
  • Senior Scientific Advisor to ALAM Mitra, Indonesia
  • International Scientific Advisor to the Coral Triangle Community Foundation
  • NERC peer review college member
  • Earthwatch Institute Principle Investigator
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society
  • Honorary Fellow of the University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Reviewer for various journal and grant awarding bodies
  • Organiser of University Tropical Biology Field Courses

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