Imperial College London

Alan R.T. Spencer

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Senior Strategic Teaching Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 6404alan.spencer Website CV




2.31ARoyal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





I’m a PhD graduate of Imperial College London with over a dacade of teaching experience within the field of geoscience. My scientific research has focused on non-destructive methodologies, employing novel techniques (e.g. synchrotron radiation), to elucidate the anatomical detail within fossilised flora—leading to a better understanding of the evolutionary developments and past ecosystems while maximising recoverable data.

I am currently a Strategic Teaching Fellow under the College’s new Learning and Teaching Strategy, launched in June 2017, which sets out an ambitious programme of work aimed at establishing Imperial as a global leader in innovative, evidence-based education. This strategy is being underpinned by significant new investment in education supporting new, innovative, evidence-based teaching and learning methods across the College. Within the Department of Earth Science and Engineering my role as a Strategic Teaching Fellow provides experience and expertise to contribute to the learning and teaching provision in the department in order to facilitate the implementation of the Learning and Teaching Strategy.


  • 2009–16 - PhD, Imperial College London - “Multiple Approaches in Tomography of Palaeobotanical Specimens” specialising in non-destructive sampling techniques and 3D modelling of acquired datasets for the advancement of palaeobotanical taxonomy. Supervisor: Dr. Mark D. Sutton (Imperial College London).
  • 2003–2006 - BSc Geology & Archaeology (JH), University of Birimingham 


  • Lecturing on the following: Palaeobiology, Graphics and Statistics for Geoscientists. Staff member for the following field courses: Year 1 Southern Spain field course, Year 2 Pyrenees field course. With past experience teaching on for the following ESE geology modules: Structural Geology 1, Field geology 1, Life and Earth History, Stratigraphy and Life, Palaeontology, Introduction to Field Geology.
  • Running, maintaining, and designing ESESIS. ESESIS is the ESE department's custom built VLE and staff–student database.
  • Providing support for the ongoing curriculum review.

Professional Bodies

  • The Palaeontological Association—Member (2005-present); Internet Officer and Charitable Trustee (Dec 2013–Dec 2018); Secretary (2021-2026)
  • The International Organisation of Palaeobotany—Member (2006–present), Internet Officer (2006–2016)
  • The Linnaean Society of London—Fellow (2010–present)
  • Botanical Society of America—Member (2014–2017)
  • Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Society—Member (2017–present)

More Information

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Strullu-Derrien C, Spencer ART, Cleal CJ, et al., 2022, The 330-320 Million-Year-Old Tranchee des Malecots (Chaudefonds-sur-Layon, South of the Armorican Massif, France): a Rare Geoheritage Site Containing In Situ Palaeobotanical Remains, Geoheritage, Vol:14, ISSN:1867-2477

Cherns L, Spencer A, Rahman IA, et al., 2022, Correlative tomography of exceptionally preserved Jurassic ammonite implies hyponome-propelled swimming, Geology, Vol:50, ISSN:0091-7613, Pages:397-401


Strullu-Derrien C, Geze M, Spencer ART, et al., 2021, An expanded diversity of oomycetes in Carboniferous forests: Reinterpretation of Oochytrium lepidodendri (Renault 1894) from the Esnost chert, Massif Central, France, PLOS One, Vol:16, ISSN:1932-6203, Pages:1-14

Strullu-Derrien C, Cleal CJ, Ducassou C, et al., 2021, A rare late Mississippian flora from Northwestern Europe (Maine-et-Loire Coalfield, Pays de la Loire, France), Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Vol:285, ISSN:0034-6667

He X-Y, Spencer ART, Wang S-J, et al., 2021, Hydrasperman pteridosperm ovules from the Permian of China: palaeoecological and palaeobiogeographic implications, Historical Biology, Vol:33, ISSN:0891-2963, Pages:3361-3367

Strullu-Derrien C, Bernard S, Spencer ART, et al., 2019, On the structure and chemistry of fossils of the earliest woody plant, Palaeontology, Vol:62, ISSN:0031-0239, Pages:1015-1026

Garwood RJ, Oliver H, Spencer ART, 2020, An introduction to the Rhynie chert, Geological Magazine, ISSN:0016-7568, Pages:1-18

Garwood RJ, Spencer ART, Sutton MD, 2019, REvoSim: Organism-level simulation of macro and microevolution, Palaeontology, Vol:62, ISSN:0031-0239, Pages:339-355

Burca G, Nagella S, Clark T, et al., 2018, Exploring the potential of neutron imaging for life sciences on IMAT, Journal of Microscopy, Vol:272, ISSN:0022-2720, Pages:242-247

Strullu-Derrien C, Spencer ART, Goral T, et al., 2018, New insights into the evolutionary history of Fungi from a 407 Ma Blastocladiomycota fossil showing a complex hyphal thallus, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:373, ISSN:0962-8436

Spencer ART, Garwood RJ, Rees AR, et al., 2017, New insights into Mesozoic cycad evolution: an exploration of anatomically preserved Cycadaceae seeds from the Jurassic Oxford Clay biota, Peerj, Vol:5, ISSN:2167-8359

Wang S-J, Bateman RM, Spencer ART, et al., 2017, Anatomically preserved "strobili" and leaves from the Permian of China (Dorsalistachyaceae, fam. nov.) broaden knowledge of Noeggerathiales and constrain their possible taxonomic affinities, American Journal of Botany, Vol:104, ISSN:0002-9122, Pages:127-149

Garwood RJ, Dunlop JA, Spencer ART, et al., 2016, Almost a spider: a 305-million-year-old fossil arachnid and spider origins, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, Vol:283, ISSN:0080-4649

Spencer ART, Mapes G, Bateman RM, et al., 2015, Middle Jurassic evidence for the origin of Cupressaceae: A paleobotanical context for the roles of regulatory genetics and development in the evolution of conifer seed cones, American Journal of Botany, Vol:102, ISSN:1537-2197, Pages:942-961

Steart DC, Spencer ART, Garwood RJ, et al., 2014, X-ray Synchrotron Microtomography of a silicified Jurassic Cheirolepidiaceae (Conifer) cone: histology and morphology of Pararaucaria collinsonae sp. nov., Peerj, Vol:2, ISSN:2167-8359

Spencer ART, Wang S-J, Dunn MT, et al., 2013, Species of the medullosan ovule Stephanospermum from the Lopingian (late Permian) floras of China, Journal of Asian Earth Sciences

Spencer ART, Hilton J, Sutton MD, 2012, Combined methodologies for three-dimensional reconstruction of fossil plants preserved in siderite nodules: Stephanospermum braidwoodensis nov. sp. (Medullosales) from the Mazon Creek lagerstätte, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology

Garwood RJ, Spencer ART, 2011, The geology and terrestrial life of the Carboniferous, Deposits Magazine, Vol:28, Pages:38-47

More Publications