Preeminent University of Hawaii scholar presented with national award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Mary Donohue, (808) 956-7031
Sea Grant College Program
Posted: Jul 31, 2006

World renown scholar and University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant) author, Dr. Isabella Abbott, will be honored with the Botanical Society of America‘s (BSA) Centennial Award at the society‘s annual meeting this week in Chico, California. This award is presented to members of the BSA for their outstanding contributions to botanical sciences, service to the BSA and past recognition of excellence. It is the highest honor the BSA bestows.

Abbott is the Wilder Professor of Botany, Emerita at the University of Hawaiʻi as well as Professor Emerita at Stanford University, and has had a long and distinguished career. She is well known in Hawaiʻi for both her scholarly contributions as well as her efforts to heighten cultural awareness surrounding traditional uses of seaweed. Dr. Abbott completed her bachelor‘s degree at the University of Hawaiʻi in 1941 and went on to earn a master‘s degree at the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1950.

She was the first female faculty member in the Biological Sciences Department at Stanford, teaching for many years at the Hopkins Marine Station. She then returned to the University of Hawaiʻi in the early 1980‘s to teach ethnobiology, and has become the world‘s leading expert on limu.

Abbott has received numerous professional accolades including a 2005 Living Treasures of Hawaiʻi award.

Abbott‘s academic writings include over 100 scholarly papers and 8 books including the upcoming book Hawaiian Reef Plants to be published this Fall by UH Sea Grant.