1967 Ph.D., Marine Phytoplankton, University of Oslo, Norway; 1955 M.S., Biological Oceanography, University of Rhode Island; 1953 B.S., Biology, Tufts University.

Professional Career

As an undergraduate at Tufts University, Ted developed a strong interest in marine invertebrates that led him to seek graduate studies at the University of Rhode Island's fledgling program at the Narragansett Marine Laboratory. After completing a Masters thesis on the phytoplankton of lower Narragansett Bay, Ted was admitted into a graduate program at Yale University to work under Gordon Riley. Prior to beginning his studies at Yale, Ted received a Fulbright Fellowship for a year-long stay at the University of Oslo, Norway, where as a visiting young scientist in Professor Trygve Braarud's laboratory, he absorbed all he could from the world's leading authority on the ecology of marine phytoplankton. His one year stay extended into a four year journey of excitement that culminated in his being invited to become a candidate for the degree of Dr. philos. at the University. He received a Woods Hole Oceanographic Associates Fellowship and a Crown Princess Martha Fellowship from the Scandinavian - American Foundation to continue work in Oslo on his doctoral dissertation on the Phytoplankton of the Gulf of Panama Upwelling System, a study which quickly became a benchmark for tropical phytoplankton ecology. From Oslo, Ted returned to the University of Rhode Island to take a position at the newly formed Graduate School of Oceanography, where he remains today as an active research faculty member.


2002 ISSHA Yasumoto Lifetime Achievement Award; 2002 Phycological Society Award of Excellence; 1992 election into the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters ; 1984 University of Rhode Island Scholarly Achievement Award; 1991 co-organizer with Prof. Y. Shimizu of the 5th International Conference on Toxic Marine Phytoplankton; 2002 to date, co-editor of the journal Harmful Algae.

Key contributions

Throughout his tenure as a professor at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, his stimulation to students, researchers and fellow faculty has been a constant. His emphasis on the harmful algal bloom paradigm has given him a focus for delving into basic ecological principles governing these as well as non-toxic blooms in the sea. His major research themes include seminal works on phytoplankton suspension, species succession in marine environments and population dynamics related to diatom and harmful algal blooms. Armed with the skills of knowing the major marine species, an enviable knowledge of the international literature and a constantly inquisitive mind, Ted continues to delve into insights related to the dynamics driving phytoplankton blooms. His recent collaborations with the freshwater phytoplankton ecologist Colin Reynolds in generating his present concepts on species strategies, community assembly and development of blooms offer another cornerstone from which to examine the HAB paradigm. His first comments on the importance of life cycles, nutrients and eutrophication in driving the spreading of the bloom phenomena on a global basis were quickly adopted by others and presented or reiterated in their publications. In this regard, he has been a trend setter of ideas that have stimulated others to explore further.Yet another aspect of Ted's contribution to this discipline is his unique ability to synthesize disparate observations, ideas and concepts into newly formed insights.

Having had a classical education, native fluency in Russian, studies in German, a fluency in Norwegian, and Latin languages forming no barrier to him, the greater part of the world's scientific literature is available for his assimilation. For Japanese, Ted studied with tutors and spent three months in Japan, combing the plethora of literature on phytoplankton and gleaning insights normally not available to others not having made the effort. He repeatedly visits Japan and Europe in pursuing research on observations to support hypotheses. He also continues to work on synthesizing the long-term (38-years) weekly ecological observations that he and his students have carried out on the phytoplankton and habitat conditions in Narragansett Bay. As a multifaceted individual, Ted Smayda not only has a love for science and language but also has a keen interest in literature, with a passion for poetry and art. He is a social person who enjoys the company of colleagues and new acquaintances alike and has made every effort to have new visitors feel welcome.

Notable Students

32 graduate MS and PhD students, including David Borkman, Edward Durbin, Miles Furnas, Cynthia Heil, Gary Hitchcock, Deneb Karentz, Christopher Langdon, Lucie Maranda, Carmelo Tomas, Gabriel Vargo, Peter Verity, Tracy Villareal, James Yoder.

10 Key publications

Smayda, T.J. 2008. Complexity in the eutrophication-harmful algal bloom relationship, with comment on the importance of grazing. Harmful Algae 8, 140-151.

Smayda, T.J. and C.S. Reynolds 2003. Strategies of marine dinoflagellate survival and some rules of assembly. Journal of Sea Research 49, 95-106.

Smayda, T.J. 2002. Turbulence, watermass stratification and harmful algal blooms: An alternative view. Harmful Algae 1, 95-112.

Smayda, T.J. 1998. Ecophysiology and bloom dynamics of Heterosigma akashiwo (Raphidophyceae). InD.M. Anderson, A.D. Cembella and G.M. Hallegraeff (eds.) Physiological Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms, NATO ASI Series G: Ecological Sciences, Vol. 41, Springer, Berlin, pp. 113-131.

Smayda, T.J. 1997. Harmful algal blooms: their ecophysiology and general relevance to phytoplankton blooms in the sea. Limnol.Oceanogr. 42, 1137-1153.

Smayda, T.J. 1990 Novel and nuisance phytoplankton blooms in the sea: evidence for a global epidemic. In, E. Granéli, B. Sundström, L. Edler and D.M. Anderson (eds.) Toxic Marine Phytoplankton. Elsevier, NY.; pp. 29-40. .

Karentz, D. and T.J. Smayda 1984. Temperature and the seasonal occurrence pattern of 30 dominant phytoplankton species in Narragansett Bay over a 22-year period (1959-1980). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 18: 277-293.

Smayda, T.J. 1980 Species Succession. In, I. Morris (ed.). The Physiological Ecology of Phytoplankton. Univ. Calif. Press, Berkeley, CA. pp. 493-570.

Smayda, T.J. 1970. The suspension and sinking of phytoplankton in the sea. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 8, 353-414.

Smayda, T.J. 1966. A quantitative analysis of the phytoplankton of the Gulf of Panama. III. General ecological conditions, and the phytoplankton dynamics at 8°45'N, 79°23'W from November 1954 to May 1957. Bulletin of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission 11, 353-612.



Based partly on the presentation by Carmelo Tomas, during the awards ceremony at the 10th International Conference on Harmful Algae, St. Pete Beach, Florida, 25 October 2002.

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