About the Award

The Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal recognizes excellence in published research on marine or freshwater algae. The award is presented every three years and consists of a gold-plated bronze medal and a $50,000 prize. The Smith Medal was established in March 1968 at the bequest of Helen P. Smith in memory of her husband, Gilbert Morgan Smith. Smith was a renowned botanist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the first President of the Phycological Society of America.

Robert S. Steneck, University of Maine, received the 2024 Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal.

Steneck’s insightful studies on marine algae extend from the poles to the tropics, documenting their cascading roles in affecting the structure and function of both current and past coastal marine communities and informing current conservation efforts.

2024 Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal, Steneck social

His research, which ranges from coral reefs and kelp forests to fisheries and marine conservation and management, provides key insight into overexploitation, species invasion, and a warming climate in ecosystems from the Gulf of Maine to the Great Barrier Reef. His tropical research on how juvenile coral settle and grow on coral reefs, and why improved fisheries management aids in how reefs recover from disturbance, has highlighted the importance of developing an ecosystem approach to reef conservation.

Watch Steneck’s acceptance speech.

Award History

The Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal was established in March 1968 at the bequest of Helen P. Smith in memory of her husband, Gilber Morgan Smith. Smith was a renowned botanist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the first President of the Phycological Society of America. The first medal was awarded to William R. Taylor for his outstanding contributions to the knowledge of the marine algae of Florida, the Caribbean Sea, the Northwestern Atlantic, and the tropical Pacific Oceans. Previous recipients of the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields.

Most Recent Recipient
Robert S. Steneck, 2024 Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal.
Robert S. Steneck
2024
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Patrick Keeling
2021
Mark E. Hay
2018
Takao Kondo
2015
John B. Waterbury
2012
Arthur R. Grossman
2009
Sabeeha Merchant
2006