People > Dr Tim Smyth

Dr Tim Smyth

Head of Science - Marine Biogeochemistry and Ocean observations

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100 (switchboard)


Dr Tim Smyth is the Head of Science for Marine Biogeochemistry and Observations at PML. This involves leading a team of around 20 people ranging from PhD students to experienced senior scientists across a range of disciplines from air-sea exchange, nutrient cycling to molecular science within the broad remit of marine biogeochemistry. His brief also includes oversight of the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) as well as the Western Channel Observatory (WCO: both NERC National Capability) which he has been leading for the past decade.

Since joining PML in 1997 as a data analyst and algorithm developer for the then newly launched SeaWiFS ocean colour satellite, his research interests have broadly encompassed theoretical and experimental atmospheric and in-water optics. He has a strong interest in developing innovative technologies for automated marine measurements including the WCO buoys, ship emissions and atmospheric aerosols.

He has around 280 days of sea-going experience including being Chief Scientist on two Atlantic Meridional Transect (2014, 2015) expeditions between the UK and Falkland Islands.

He has over eighty peer-reviewed ISI papers.


  • BSc. (Hons) Class I: Physics and Meteorology. University of Reading (1991 – 1994)
  • PhD: “Precipitation measurements in convective storms using multiparameter radar”. University of Reading (1997)


S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events

S-3 EUROHAB - Sentinel products for detecting EUtROphication and Harmful Algal Bloom events

Contact: Dr Gavin Tilstone

S-3 EUROHAB will use the latest satellite technology to improve the way water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored in the English...


An Alternative Framework to Assess Marine Ecosystem Functioning in Shelf Seas (AlterEco)

Contact: Dr Tim Smyth

AlterEco aims to develop a new observational framework based upon the latest marine autonomous systems (MAS) to improve the spatio-temporal...

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Other key projects

NERC National Capability:
  • Western Channel Observatory
  • Atlantic Meridional Transect
  • An Alternative Framework to Assess Marine Ecosystem Functioning in Shelf Seas (AlterEco) (NE/P013910/1)
  • Atlantic BiogeoChemical fluxes (ABC) (NE/M005038/1) 
Horizons 2020:
  • AtlantOS
ESA Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative:
  • Aerosol and SST option

Recent publications

  • Davies, TW; Smyth, TJ. 2017 Why artificial light at night should be a focus for global change research in the 21st century. Global Change Biology. 10.1111/gcb.13927
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  • Archer, SD; Stefels, J; Airs, RL; Lawson, T; Smyth, TJ; Rees, AP; Geider, RJ. 2017 Limitation of dimethylsulfoniopropionate synthesis at high irradiance in natural phytoplankton communities of the Tropical Atlantic. Limnology and Oceanography. 10.1002/lno.10625
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  • Brewin, RJW; de Mora, L; Billson, O; Jackson, T; Russell, P; Brewin, TG; Shutler, J; Miller, PI; Taylor, BH; Smyth, TJ; Fishwick, J. 2017 Evaluating operational AVHRR sea surface temperature data at the coastline using surfers. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 196. 276-289.
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  • Rees, AP ; Nightingale, PD; Poulton, AJ; Smyth, TJ; Tarran, GA; Tilstone, GH. 2017 The Atlantic Meridional Transect Programme (1995 – 2016). Progress in Oceanography. 10.1016/j.pocean.2017.05.004
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  • Wood, J; Smyth, TJ; Estelles, V. 2017 Autonomous marine hyperspectral radiometers for determining solar irradiances and aerosol optical properties. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. 10.5194/amt-10-1723-2017
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  • Fileman, ES; White, DA; Harmer, RA; Aytan, U; Tarran, GA; Smyth, TJ; Atkinson, A. 2017 Stress of life at the ocean’s surface: Latitudinal patterns of UV sunscreens in plankton across the Atlantic [in special issue: Atlanic Meridional Transect] Progress in Oceanography, 158. 171-184. 10.1016/j.pocean.2017.01.001
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Other activities

  • Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (since 1998)
  • NERC Peer Review College – panel member and reviewer
  • NERC Expert Scientific Moorings Assessment Group
  • National Centre for Atmospheric Science: Atmospheric Measurement Facility Advisory Group
  • UK Integrated Monitoring and Observing Network – Executive
  • National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (now National Partnership for Ocean Prediction) – executive (until 2015)
  • Chair of PML IT Strategy group