Sant Chair for Marine Science

Close-up of Dr. Nancy Knowlton in front of the ocean and a gray sky.
Dr. Nancy Knowlton in the field. Photo by Christian Ziegler.

Dr. Nancy Knowlton holds the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Her research focuses on the ecology, evolution and conservation of coral reef organisms, and has taken her to the Caribbean, Brazil, the eastern Atlantic, and the Indo-west and central Pacific. Her analyses have led to the now widespread recognition that estimates of marine diversity are probably too low by a factor of ten.

Nancy received her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, and was a professor at Yale University prior to moving to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Later, she joined the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, where she was the founding Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and the leader of its interdisciplinary research and education (IGERT) program. She is author of the book Citizens of the Sea and was elected in 2013 to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.