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UNF Limnology Students perform field work at Lake Oneida.
Salt marsh
Oyster beds
Students and professor working with a Benthic tray
gator hatchling
entire class crossing florida creek
Two Herons

Frank Smith

Frank Smith Headshot


Faculty Bio



Assistant Professor

Phone: (904) 620-2883

Office: Building 59, Room 2315


Research Interests

Evolutionary developmental biology, comparative genomics, comparative morphology


Areas of Expertise

Evolutionary developmental biology, comparative genomics, comparative morphology



B.S. University of Rhode Island (2007)

Ph.D. University of Connecticut (2013)

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013-2017)



My research focuses on the origin and diversification of body plans found in the superphylum Panarthropoda (Arthropoda, Onychophora, Tardigrada)--a lineage renowned for its diversity of segmental body plans. In order to investigate body plan evolution in this lineage, I have built an integrative research program that combines comparative approaches to developmental genetics, genomics, and morphology. My approach allows me to reconstruct body plans of ancient panarthropod ancestors and elucidate the developmental changes that led to modern forms. My goal is to identify the developmental principles that govern the origin and diversification of segmented body plans. My recent studies have focused on the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. At UNF, I am continuing my investigations of H. dujardini and working to establish distant tardigrade relatives of this species for comparative studies.