School of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Photo of Dr Anthony Butcher

Dr Anthony Butcher

  • Qualifications: PhD
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer
  • Address: School of Earth & Environmental Sciences University of Portsmouth Burnaby Building Burnaby Road Portsmouth PO1 3QL
  • Telephone: 023 92 842486
  • Email:
  • Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty: Science


A ‘pure’ geologist by training (graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 1998), I became interested in palaeontology as a tool for solving geological problems both during my degree and subsequent postgraduate/postdoctoral research. My specialisation into micropalaeontology is particularly well-suited for such tasks, as described in more detail below.

I also run the School’s microscopy and imaging suite (incorporating both light and electron microscopy), and have recently taken over as the Education Liaison Officer for SEES, co-ordinating and working on outreach links between the University of Portsmouth and schools/colleges in the local area.

Teaching Responsibilities

My teaching responsibilities are quite varied, ranging from geological mapping and field methods to palaeobotany and micropalaeontology. I teach on several undergraduate field trips, including leading a second-year mapping trip to the Lake District. In terms of undergraduate dissertation projects, I supervise both geological mapping students and those undertaking palaeontological projects related to my specialist subject areas.

Below is a list of courses and units upon which I teach. Those units that I co-ordinate are marked ‘*’:

BSc (Hons) Palaeontology:

  • SEES504 Professional Skills For Palaeontologists
  • SEES505 Micropalaeontology, Palaeobotany, & Project preparation*
  • SEES506 Palaeontological Techniques*
  • SEES607 Palaeontology Project And Study Tour

BSc (Hons) Geology

  • SEES405 Earth Materials
  • SEES413 Earth History And Life
  • SEES508 Sedimentology And Palaeoenvironments
  • SEES618 Geology Project And Advanced Field Study

BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology & Geotechnics

  • SEES526 Professional Skills For Applied Geoscientists

BEng (Hons) Petroleum Engineering

  • SEES415 Earth Processes*

Research Interests

As a biostratigraphical palynologist, I use organic-walled microfossils to establish both the age of geological strata and their environment of deposition - these data can then be applied to solving geological problems. A particular area of specialisation is the use of chitinozoans (an extinct group of marine plankton) for the dating of Palaeozoic strata, and the recognition of Silurian hydrocarbon source rocks. Palynology is an extremely versatile type of micropalaeontology and can be used not only to date strata, but also as a proxy for sea level change, climate, ecology, and salinity in the geological past.

Given its application to the hydrocarbon industry, I am able to introduce my research into several of the units that I teach, giving students the opportunity to see how what they are learning in class can be applied in the real world, and how it can boost their employability.

I have also become active in palaeobotanical research, using new cutting-edge techniques to re-analyse some of the earliest land plant fossils.



View all publications on Parade…


Research - EUR80k grant-in-kind for beam time at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble), to explore the potential value of synchrotron microtomography for the analysis of 3D-preserved early land plant fossils.

Consultancy - £24k for analysis of confidential core samples for a petroleum exploration company.


I work very closely with Dr David Loydell (also of SEES), in producing high-resolution integrated biostratigraphical studies of Palaeozoic strata (often concerning hydrocarbon source rocks), and have collaborated on papers with researchers from many different institutions and countries.

Postgraduate Research Supervised

I am currently First Supervisor for one PhD student, Rhian Llewellyn, who is working on the palynology of Buttington Brick Pit (Wales), an important SSSI section through early Silurian strata in Wales.  I am also second supervisor to several students within SEES who are undertaking projects that contain aspects of my research/teaching specialisation (e.g. Silurian strata, palynology, palaeobotany), and have been internal examiner for several PhD and MPhil projects.

Achievement and Recognition

Council Member of the Palaeontographical Society

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

STEM School Science Ambassador


Commission Internationale de la Microflore du Paléozoïque (CIMP)

The International Organisation for Palaeobotany (IOP)

The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS)

The Palaeontographical Society

The Palaeontological Association

The Palynology Society (TPS, formerly AASP)

The Petroleum Society of Great Britain (PESGB)