NAS awards UMaine professor for work on marine ecosystems

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) honored University of Maine marine ecologist Robert S. Steneck for advancing the scientific understanding and conservation of marine ecosystems. 

Steneck, who retired from a 41-year career at UMaine in fall 2023, was among 20 recipients of the 2024 NAS Awards. 

The Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal and a $50,000 prize was awarded to Steneck for his studies on marine algae, which enlighten ongoing conservation efforts and document how warm to cool climate ecosystems affect the structure and function of coastal marine communities — past and present. Ranging between coral reefs, kelp forests, fisheries and marine conservation and management, his research provides insight into overexploitation, species invasion and warming climate from the Gulf of Maine to the Great Barrier Reef.

Presented every three years, the Smith Medal recognizes research on marine or freshwater algae. It was established in March 1968 in memory of Gilbert Morgan Smith, a renowned botanist, member of NAS and the first president of the Phycological Society of America.

More information on the 2024 NAS Awards is available online.