Dr. Nancy Knowlton

Dr. Nancy Knowlton

Dr. Nancy Knowlton is a distinguished coral reef biologist known for her extensive work in marine science. Her academic journey began at Harvard University, from where she graduated before earning her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Professionally, she has held esteemed positions in various reputable institutions. Early in her career, she served as a faculty member at Yale University from 1979 to 1984. Post that, she joined the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama as a staff scientist and worked there until 1998. She also had a tenure at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California in San Diego, where she founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.

Dr. Knowlton’s most notable position was as the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., a role she assumed in 2007 and held till she became emerita. During her illustrious career, she also played a pivotal part as a scientific leader in the Census of Marine Life, a monumental endeavor to catalog and understand marine life species across the globe.

A significant highlight of Dr. Knowlton's career is her literary contribution, 'Citizens of the Sea,' published by National Geographic in 2010 to mark the culmination of the Census of Marine Life. This book reflects her deep understanding and appreciation of marine biodiversity.

Her dedication and significant contributions to marine science have earned her several accolades, including the Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 1999, the Benchley Award for Science in 2009, and the prestigious Heinz Award with a special focus on the environment in 2011. Additionally, in 2013, she was elected a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, marking her standing in the scientific community.

Dr. Knowlton's work has substantially impacted our understanding of marine biodiversity, particularly the ecology, behavior, and conservation of coral reef organisms, laying a strong foundation for future research and conservation efforts in marine science.