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Donald M. Anderson

Director, Coastal Ocean Institute
Senior Scientist, Biology Department
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Donald M. Anderson is a Senior Scientist in the Biology Department of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he also serves as Director of the Coastal Ocean Institute. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctoral degree in aquatic sciences from the Civil Engineering Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He accepted a postdoctoral position at WHOI in 1978 and joined the staff as an Assistant Scientist in 1979.

Anderson became interested in red tides and HABs as an MIT graduate student when a massive red tide devastated the New England coast. His work investigating chemical factors regulating Alexandrium blooms led to discoveries of a cyst stage and other biological processes that became his research focus. Since then, his research program has expanded and now ranges from molecular and cellular studies of toxin genetics to large-scale studies of the oceanography and ecology of algal blooms. He is actively involved in the organization and implementation of national and international programs for research and training on HABs.

He serves as director of the U.S. National Office for Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algal Blooms (based at WHOI). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named him an “Environmental Hero” in 1999. He does eat shellfish and other seafood, both at home and abroad, but is careful to learn whether the product is from approved waters. As a rule, he does not eat large, tropical reef fish. Don is an accomplished golfer, and is currently the Massachusetts Senior Amateur Champion.

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