School of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Photo of Dr Nicholas Minter

Dr Nicholas Minter

  • Qualifications: BSc, PhD
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer
  • Address: School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Burnaby Building, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3QL
  • Telephone: 023 9284 2288
  • Email:
  • Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty: Science


Animals and their environments have been interacting and modifying one another since life began. I am interested in co-evolution between life and the planet. I work at the interface among palaeontology, sedimentology and behavioural ecology; focussing on organism-substrate interactions and what they can tell us about the make-up of ecosystems through time and their responses to major events in the history of the Earth. These include evolutionary radiations, colonization events and mass extinctions.

  • 2013-present: Lecturer then Senior Lecturer, University of Portsmouth
  • 2012: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 2010-2011: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 2009-2010: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Bristol
  • 2008-2009: Fixed-term Lecturer, University of Bristol
  • 2003-2007: PhD research, University of Bristol
  • 2000-2003: BSc (Joint Hons. Geology and Biology), University of Bristol

Teaching Responsibilities

I co-ordinate and teach on a number of courses across all levels within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. My teaching responsibilities focus on Earth surface process and materials. I also contribute to a number of residential field courses and lead day field trips.

Units that I co-ordinate:

  • SEES 419 Sedimentology and Palaeontology (Level 4)
  • SEES 537 Sedimentary Processes and Facies Analysis (Level 5)
  • SEES 609 Basin Analysis and Petroleum Geology (Level 6)

Units to which I contribute:

  • SEES 529 Professional Skills For Geoscientists (Level 5 Ullapool and Brittany Fieldtrips)
  • SEES 607 Palaeontology Project And Study Tour (Level 6)
  • SEES 618 Geology Project and Advanced Field Study (Level 6)


The study of organism-sediment interactions is a significant area of research on both a fundamental level, for understanding the evolution of animals and environments; and on an applied level, for delineating past and present habitats and environmental conditions, and providing insights for future challenges to society in predicting the impacts of ongoing environmental and biotic change on ecosystem functions and services.

My research involves field, lab, collections, and database studies. I have studied organism-substrate interactions ranging from half a billion years old through to conducting experiments and observations with living animals, and across deep marine to desert environments. I have been fortunate enough to study world-renowned geological localities, including the Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia, Carboniferous of Atlantic Canada, Permian Robledo Mountains of New Mexico, Triassic Petrified Forest National Park of Arizona, and Cretaceous Dinosaur Coast of Korea.

Research areas:

  • The establishment of terrestrial ecosystems
  • The Cambrian explosion and ecosystem engineering
  • Refinement of ichnofacies models and palaeoenvironmental analysis
  • Novel experimental methods and laboratory analysis of organism-substrate interactions
  • Benthic-pelagic coupling and ecosystem functioning through time and space
  • Bioturbation in submarine canyon systems



Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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