Nancy Knowlton

Nancy Knowlton

Contact information

Sant Chair for Marine Science

National Museum of Natural History (Adjunct Professor of Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography)


Dr. Nancy Knowlton holds the Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where her research focuses on the diversity and conservation of life in the ocean. She received her BA at Harvard University summa cum laude, her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley, and was a NATO postdoctoral fellow.  Later, she was a professor at Yale University, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and Professor and founding Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Past service included advisory positions with the National Geographic Society, the World Bank, the Cosmos Prize, and the Census of Marine Life.  She was a past member of the editorial board of the Annual Review of Marine Science and the National Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She currently serves on the Pew Marine Fellows Advisory Committee, the Sloan Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences committee, The Savannah Ocean Exchange Board of Governors, and the national board the Coral Reef Alliance.  She is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, winner of the Peter Benchley Prize and the Heinz Award, and author of Citizens of the Sea.