Council Member Profiles
Former Reserve Advisory Council member profile
Dr. Isabella Abbott
"Dr. Abbott was one of the true giants of marine biology. She was also a great mentor and role model for innumerable students of marine science, most of whom are still active in the field and represent her living legacy. "
– Dr. Randall Kosaki, PMNM research coordinator
Dr. Isabella Kauakea Aiona Abbott has been called “the First Lady of Limu.” “Izzy” as she was known, was a towering inspiration to generations of students and colleagues, due to her achievements, connection to people, and lifelong passion for limu, or marine algae.
Isabella, a member of the Reserve Advisory Council from October, 2001 until her passing in October, 2010, was the first Native Hawaiian to earn a doctorate in science, the first female biology professor at Stanford University, and an internationally recognized authority on marine plants, bringing unique ancient Hawaiian knowledge to her studies and teachings. She was the author of eight books and more than 150 scientific papers. She named more than 200 species, as well as naming NOAA’s research vessel, Hiʻialakai.
In a fitting tribute, researchers at Papahānaumokuākea named a recently discovered species of limu from PMNM after Isabella: Martensia abbottiae.
While a member of the advisory council, Isabella was always a strong advocate for scientific research, algal study, Native Hawaiian access rights, and gathering rights.
She supported the 2006 establishment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, 2007 naming of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and inscription in 2010 of the monument as a UNESCO mixed-use World Heritage Site.