Dr Andrew Smith FRS
Andrew Smith is one of the United Kingdom’s most distinguished palaeontologists and is the current world leader in the study of echinoderms. He has made a series of exceptionally important contributions on many aspects of the phylum, and sea urchins in particular. He is also a pioneer in combining and reconciling molecular phylogenetics with palaeontological data. He was the first to show that relationships between stereom architecture and investing soft tissue in living echinoids could be extended to fossils, allowing many new insights into the structure and function of extinct forms. Outstanding monographs on fossil echinoderm faunas from many parts of the world have provided the basis for his cladistic analyses of echinoids and of echinoderms as a whole. These have been used to tackle general evolutionary problems such as periodicity in extinction and the mode of origin of higher taxa. The hallmarks of Andrew’s work are integration of the biological and geological approaches and lucid insight.
Interests and expertise