Darbaker Prize

Dr. Leasure K. Darbaker, a physician of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, who was for many years a member of the Botanical Society of America and who died in 1952, bequeathed funds to the Society to provide an annual sum (to be known as the Darbaker Prize) for a "grant or grants in Microscopical Algae." The award or awards will be made annually by a committee of the Society; the first Committee on The Darbaker Prize in 1955 consisted of William Randolph Taylor, chairman, Harold C. Bold, John D. Dodd, Ruth Patrick, and Gilbert M. Smith. Nominations for the 1955 award were accompanied by a statement of the merits of the case and by reprints supporting the candidacy. The recipient receives a certificate and a $1,000 award.

The Botanical Society of America and the Phycological Society of America are pleased to join together in seeking nominations for the 2024 Darbaker Prize in Phycology. This award is presented for meritorious work in the study of microscopic algae, based on papers published by the nominee during the last two full calendar years (2022-2023). The award is limited to residents of North America, and only papers published in the English language are considered.

Nominations for the 2024 prize should include:
1) a list and .pdf copies of all of the nominee's work to be considered for the 2022-2023 period
2) a statement in regards to the merits of the nominee's research
3) the Professional Conduct Disclosure Form from the nominator

All nominated awardees must adhere to the BSA Guidelines for Professional Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines for Nominated Awards

Deadline is February 1, 2024 (Midnight Pacific Time)

The application is made through our online Awards Portal. You do not need to be a current BSA member to apply. However, if you do not have a BSA login, you will need to create one here. (http://register.botany.org/register). Once you have created a login, you can proceed to the Awards Portal.

Current BSA members can access the awards portal by clicking here and logging in with your BotanyID/Password. Once signed in, click on the "2024 - Darbaker Prize Nomination" link and you should see a blue button that says "+ Create New Nomination" at the bottom if your login was successful.

Award Recipients:
2020-24 2019 2013-2018 |   2012 | 2011 | 2010
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000
1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990
1989 | 1988 | 1987 | 1986 | 1985 | 1984 | 1983 | 1982 | 1981 | 1980
1979 | 1978 | 1977 | 1976 | 1975 | 1974 | 1973 | 1972 | 1971 | 1970
1969 | 1968 | 1967 | 1966 | 1965 | 1964 | 1963 | 1962 | 1961 | 1960
1959 | 1958 | 1957 | 1956 | 1955


Award Recipients: 

2020-2024 - No Award Given in 2020-2024

2019 - Dr. Louise Lewis, University of Connecticut, Dr. Lewis' impact on the field of phycology is remarkable.  Her work spans ecology, physiology, ultrastructure, phylogenetic diversification, and organellar genomics. Dr. Lewis did some of the earliest molecular systematic research on microalgae in her graduate work at The Ohio State University, at the time using groundbreaking techniques in the nascent field of gene sequencing and analysis. Dr. Lewis has maintained a steady and prolific output of high-impact publications throughout her career, including a 2004 paper in the American Journal of Botany that as recently as last year was the most-read paper in the journal, more than a decade after its appearance.

No awards given 2013-2018

2012 - Dr. Walter Adey, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Adey has been a pioneer of modern phycology. His development of modern coralline taxonomy and the structural analysis have provided the underpinnings for our present understanding of this group that is now being enhanced by molecular methods. He has further pioneered the system of using filamentous algae as scrubbers toward clean water production and biofuels generation.

Dr. Sabeeha Merchant, University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Merchant has been instrumental in developing the genetics and genomics of Chlamydomonas as a model organism. Her work has elucidated the role of metabolic cofactors and iron and copper utilization in the biogenesis of the photosynthetic apparatus, thus providing the basic understanding of chloroplast development for green algae and plants.

2011 - Dr. Sallie (Penny) Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Chisholm’s recent and past publications are on the significant role of the microalgal group Prochlorococcus. She and her collaborators have elucidated their wide distribution in the oceanic environment, and have demonstrated essential critical environmental factors, including light and nutrients which account for the varied distribution and certain ecotypes and species. Their most recent emphasis is on the genomic characterization with respect to phosphate uptake, and the potential involvement of the cyanophages in the transfer of genetic material. She has also offered her well considered opinion in influential scientific journals to discourage oceanic Fe fertilization since it likely will seriously impact the ecosystem.

2010 - Dr. Brian Palenik, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA. Dr. Palenik is a leader in the field of oceanographic phytoplankton genomics. He has focused mostly on cyanobacterial organisms, but he was also first author on a seminal paper on Ostreococcus, the smallest eukaryotic phytoplankter whose genome was sequenced in its entirety. Palenik was the lead scientist in that effort, published in PNAS. In addition to his research, Dr. Palenik is active in communicating the science of genomics and oceanography to the general public. He was also instrumental in designing and implementing an exhibit in a public aquarium on DNA sequencing and genomics of marine organisms.

2009 - Dr. Patrick Keeling, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Evolutionary Biology Program, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Dr. Keeling’s research has contributed in a substantial and meaningful way in the area of organelle evolution, genetransfer, and genome evolution, including plastid evolution, in the microalgae of the Chromalveolates and Ulvophyceae.

2008 - The two Darbaker prize winners for 2008 are Debashish Bhattacharya and Virginia (Ginger) Armbrust
Dr. D. Bhattacharya was nominated on the basis of his contributions to an international tree of life project and phylogeny papers published on a wide range of algal groups during the years of 2006 and 2007, particularly Li, S., T. Nosenko, J.D. Hackett, and D. Bhattacharya. 2006. Phylogenomic analysis provides evidence for the endosymbiotic transfer of red algal genes in chromalveolates. Mol. Biol. Evol. 23:663-674.

Dr. V. Armbrust was cited for several notable research contributions on the biology of diatoms in 2006 and 2007, including the following: Oudot-Le Secq, M.-P., J. Grimwood, H. Shapiro, C. Bowler, E. V. Armbrust and B R. Green. 2007. Chloroplast genomes of the diatoms Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Thalassiosira pseudonana: comparison with other plastid genomes of the red lineage. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 277:427-429.

2007 - Dr. JoAnn Burkholder, Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, North Carolina State University
The award recognizes excellence in research on microalgae over a two-year period (2005-2006). The committee recognizes the breadth of your many important contributions toward understanding harmful dinoflagellates, including the environmental factors affecting these algae, their effects on other organisms, and interspecific differences among the algae.

2006 - Charles F. Delwiche, University of Maryland at College Park
The award recognizes his excellent research on a wide variety of algae, resulting in significant contributions to the literature in many fields. These include molecular systematics and genetics of green algae and dinoflagellates, genomics of microalgae, molecular evolution of microalgae, and structure and function of microalgae.

2005 - Tracy A. Villareal , University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute
The award recognizes his excellent work in the use of fluorescence for studying phytoplankton ecology and his significant contributions in our understanding of the role of plankton in the open ocean nitrogen cycle and the ecology of a diverse array of harmful algae.

2003 - John C. "Jack" Meeks, University of California at Davis
The award recognizes his excellent work sequencing the genome of the important cyanobacterium, Nostoc, and his extensive studies on the Nostoc/Anthocerossymbiosis.

2002 - Arthur Grossman, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Dr. Grossman's recent publications reflect his long-standing and diverse interests in algal biology, and include studies on cyanobacterial nutrient and light responses, and the characterization of light-harvesting systems in two major groups of algae. Dr. Grossman is also enthusiastic in promoting algae as model organisms, being deeply involved in the development of genomics tools for the study of gene expression in the green alga Chlamydomonas, and instrumental in the development of one of the first transformation systems for diatoms.

1998 - R. Jan Stevenson, University of Louisville
For published work on, microscopic algae.

1997 - Robert G. Sheath
For work on freshwater, microscopic rhodophytic algae.

1996 - Gary W. Saunders
For work on the rhodophytic and chromophytic algae.

1995 - Daniel Wujek
For his recent work on the chrysophytes and the chlorophytic algae.

1993 - G. L. Floyd & E. F. Stoermer

1992 - J. P. Smol

1991 - David Howard Turpin
To recognize his meritorious research in the study of microscopical algae during the past 2 years, specifically for his contribution to a better under-standing of the interactions among photosynthesis, respiration, and nitrogen metabolism in unicellular green algae.

1990 - Peter Allan Siver, Connecticut College
For meritorious work in the study of microscopical algae.

1989 - Rose Ann Cattolico, Professor of Botany at the University of Washington.
Dr. Cattolico's research has included exciting and innovative studies of the mechanisms underlying chloroplast evolution in marine algae. Her research efforts have provided significant contributions toward the elucidation of chloroplast DNA structure, packaging, and evolution in the Chromophyta and Rhodophyta.

1988 - D. Garbary

1987 - R. L. Moe

1986 - A.W. Coleman

1985 - W. Magruder

1984 - M. M. Littler

1983 - Dr. Beatrice M. Sweeney, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr. Sweeney is a world-respected innovator in the study of circadian rhythms, particularly in the dinoflagellates. By bringing dinoflagellates into culture and by defining their multiple photoperiodic responses, especially the physiological and ultrastructural aspects of the circadian rhythms of their bioluminescence, she has influenced the research direction of many laboratories.

1982 - Robert Haselkorn, University of Chicago
F or his extended contributions to understanding the molecular biology of nitrogen fixation in blue-green algae.

1981 - Elisabeth Gantt, Radiation Biology Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution and
Alex N. Glazer, Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, University of California at Berkeley
Were awarded the prize "for their pioneering, imaginative investigations and detailed analyses of phycobiliprotein-containing photosynthetic antennae in diverse al gal organisms."

1980 - C.P. Wolk

1979 - G. Benjamin Bouck, University of Illinois at Chicago Circle
"For his imaginative use of diverse research techniques in providing significant contributions to our understanding of flagellar mastigonemes and other aspects of the flagellar apparatus in algal flagellates."

1978 - R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., University of North Carolina "for his numerous innovative studies on microscopial algae, and especially for his recent investigations on cell wall synthesis as studied in Pleurochrysis and Oocystis. His other fine research contributions have been remarkably diverse, including studies on biochemical systematics, algal viruses, airborne algae, and sexual reproduction."

Patricia L. Walne, University of Tennessee
"For her investigations on algal ultrastructure, particularly the Euglenophyceae, and for her significant contributions to the understanding of the structure and composition of the euglenoid eyespot."

1977 - Alfred R. Loeblich III of Harvard University
"For his significant contributions to our understanding of the biology of the dinoflagellates, ranging from studies on nutrition, genetics, systematics and evolution. He has measurably advanced our knowledge of the systematic position and evolutionary perspective of these algae through his perceptive use of cytological and biochemical data coupled with scholarly speculations."

1976 - Karl R. Mattox and Kenneth Stewart of Miami University
"For their cooperative research contributions which have greatly enhanced the understanding of the taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships of numerous taxa of microscopical green algae."

1975 - Sarah P. Gibbs of McGill University
"For her significant contributions to our understanding of the Chrysophycean alga Ochromonas danica, including the fine structure of nuclear and cell division. She has concentrated on the autonomy and replication of mitochondria and chloroplasts, providing prima facie evidence that the DNA content of the chloroplast increases during development, with this development being regulated by chloroplast DNA as well as that of the nucleus."

Larry R. Hoffman of the University of Illinois "for his account of fertilization in the Chlorophycean alga Oedogonium, spanning plasmogamy, polyspermy and karyogamy. He has provided perhaps the most complete description of karyogamy in any alga to date. greatly adding to our information concerning this significant event in plants in general."

1974 - Jeremy David Pickett-Heaps of the University of Colorado
"For his significant contributions to our understanding of the ultra-structural cytology of both nuclear and cellular division, especially among green algae. His tireless explorations into micromorphology have led to the synthesis of important new ideas on algal phylogeny, microtubular-organizing substances, the role of the centriole, and the origin of higher plants. The 45 papers published since 1970 represent a prodigious and remarkable effort which has set a high standard for con-temporary phycologists."

1973 - John West of the University of California at Berkeley.
"For his application of modern culture techniques which have brought about the laboratory induction and development of important reproductive stages in a variety of marine algae. His manipulation of temperature, light, and nutrients and his knowledge of field observations by previous investigators have enables the regulation of en-tire life cycles of marine algae in the laboratory. Furthermore, his use of a variety of study techniques in combination, such as light and electron microscopy, have contributed to a greater understanding of algal life cycles and development.

1972 - Michael Neushul of the University of California in Santa Barbara
"For his breadth of research interest from the sub-microscopic level of thylakoid structure and function to the macroscopic level of growth characteristics of kelp is very unusual and his use of the double-fracture technique in freeze-etching and electron microscopy of red algal thylakoids has provided the most definitive information to date on an extensively debated topic."

1971 - Richard W. Eppley of the Institute of Marine Resources in LaJolla,
"For his original and new approaches to the understanding of phytoplankton ecology."

Michael J Wynne of the University of Texas
"For outstanding contributions in the taxonomy and morphology of marine algae, particularly the Rhodophyta and Phaeophyta."

1970 - Bruce C. Parker Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia
"For his wide-ranging and imaginative investigations which have resulted in publications that have augmented significantly our knowledge of algal environments and the chemistry of the cell walls through which algae interact with these environments." Dr. Parker received a certificate and a check for $345.

1969 - Isabella A. Abbott Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, California
For her taxonomic and morphological studies of marine red algae of the Pacific northwest coast of North America.

Norma J. Lang, Department of Botany, University of California, Davis
For her studies in the blue-green algae, especially the ultrastructure of vegetative cells and heterocysts in the filamentous forms. Each received certificates, and checks in the amount of $165.

1968 - Robert R. L. Guillard Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
For his work on the culture, physiology, and ecology of important marine phytoplankton species

James S. Craigie, Atlantic Regional Laboratory, National Research Council of Canada
For his research program in the physiology and biochemistry of marine algae.

1967 - Dr. Joyce Lewin, Department of Oceanography, University of Washington
For her work on the physiology and nutrition of diatoms.

1966 - Dr. Richard D. Wood, Department of Botany, University of Rhode Island
For his monograph of the Characeae.

1965 - To Dr. Francis R. Trainor
For his meritorious work in the unicellular algae, especially his discovery of sexuality in the genus Scenedesmus.

1964 - DR. ROBERT F. SCAGEL of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

1963 - DR. E. YALE DAWSON of the Beaudette Foundation for Biological Research, Santa Ynez, California.

1962 - MARY BELLE ALLEN of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Richmond, California.

1961 - Dr. Paul B. Green of the Universtiy of Pennsylvania for his meritorious work in the study of algae.

1960 - Dr. Janet R. Stein
For her meritorious work in the study of algae. The presentation was made at the annual banquet of the Society.

1959 - Dr. Jack Myers, University of Texas
For his many significant papers in the area of Phycology.

1957-58 - Dr. Paul Silva and Dr. Ralph Lewin
Were the recipients of the 1957-58 Darbaker Awards "for microscopical work with the Algae." Dr. G. F. Papenfuss presented them each with $250 at the Dinner for All Botanists.

1956 - Robert W. Krauss, University of Maryland
Primarily for his work on metabolism of Scenedesmus and other microscopic algae. The amount of the award made at the Storrs meeting was $200.

1955 - At the annual dinner of the Botanical Society held at Brody Hall. Michigan State University, on September 8, 1955, award of the Darbaker Prize to Professor Richard C. Starr was announced by President Oswald Tippo. This is the first time the prize has been given.

The award had been recommended by an ad hoc committee of which Professor William Randolph Taylor served as chairman. Dr. Starr was presented with a check for $150.00. The Darbaker Prize funds are available to the Society under the terms of the will of the late Dr. Leasure K. Darbaker of Wilkinsburg, Pa. The award is made for meritorious work in the study of algae, particularly the microscopic algae. Dr. Starr has published a number of contributions dealing with the morphology and taxonomy of the Chlorococcales and, more recently, papers on the sexuality and genetics of desmids. An assistant professor of Botany at Indiana University, Starr also is in charge of the Culture Collection of Algae there. Dr. Starr has served on the staff of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass. for four seasons. As Fulbright Scholar, Starr studied with Dr. E. G. Pringsheim at Cambridge University. Announcement of the date and place for submitting nominations for subsequent awards of the Darbaker Prize will be made in the near future.