JUNE 20, 1919


Isabella, born in Hana, Maui, and whose Hawaiian name meant “White Rain of Hana,” received her PhD in botany from the Univ. of California, Berkeley in 1950. Moving to Pacific Grove, where her husband taught, she studied California coast algae. In 1960, Isabella compiled a book on marine algae of the Monterey peninsula-later including the entire California coast. In 1972, Stanford made her a full professor. By 1982, the University of Hawaii hired her to study ethnobotany–the interaction of humans & plants. Authoring 8 books and 150+ publications, Isabella was the foremost expert on limu-Hawaiian seaweeds. Discovering over 200 species, she was nicknamed “First Lady of Limu.” In 1997, Isabella received the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal from National Academy of Sciences. In 2005, she was named a Living Treasure of Hawai’i and, in 2008, she received a lifetime achievement award from Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources for her studies of coral reefs. Isabella died October 28, 2010, in Honolulu.

Source:  Bergeron, Louis Bergeron, "Isabella Abbott, world-renowned Stanford algae expert, dies at 91," Stanford Report, 12/7/2010. Retrieved 7/3/2019, https://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/december/izzie-abbott-obit-120710.html.
Photo:  Chuck Painter, courtesy of Stanford News Service.

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