The Donald P. Abbott Fund for Marine Invertebrates
Donald Putnam Abbott was one of Stanford's great teachers as exemplified by being awarded the Dean's Award for teaching in 1978 and the Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Service to Undergraduate Education being awarded during the 1982 Commencement. While attending the University of Hawaii in pursuit of his Bachelors degree, Don majored in Zoology and met his future wife, Isabella “Izzie” Aiona, who was in majoring in Botany.
In 1946, Both Don and Izzie Abbott continued with their education attending graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. Don was a teaching assistant in Zoology in the course offered by the UC, Berkeley, at Pacific Grove in the summers of 1948 and 1949. The Abbots both earned Ph.D.s (in Zoology and Botany respectively) completing their degrees in 1950. That same year, Don Abbott joined the faculty at Hopkins Marine Station and from that point on his whole academic career was at the Hopkins (with excursions to the Pacific and Indian Oceans).
In his research, he was originally concerned with budding in an ascidian, on which he worked for his Ph.D., and to this group (the tunicates) he remained devoted throughout his career, inspiring several graduate students to do research on these animals also.
It is impossible to estimate the wide influence of Donald Abbott upon undergraduates, graduates, and colleagues over his career at the Hopkins Marine Station. Abbott was equally successful in guiding graduate students: 25 Ph.D.'s were given under his supervision. Many of his students went on to occupy professorships in California, Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, the West Indies, Colombia, Canada and elsewhere. Advancing through the academic ladder from instructor to Professor in 1963, he was later Assistant Director and Associate Director at Hopkins. He retired in 1982, going back to Hawaii, (where his widow, Isabella Abbott, has been Wilder Professor of Botany since 1978).
A considerable part of Don's research was done at sea, or on tropical islands. One study was conducted at Ifaluk in the Caroline Islands, where he studied the "holoecology" (including native humans) on an atoll in 1953. This research resulted in a book, Coral Island, written jointly with Marston Bates. Another book, Intertidal Invertebrates of California, was published under the aegis of Donald Abbott in 1980 by the Stanford University Press. This book includes color photographs of invertebrates taken by Robert Morris, which are accompanied by notes written by Eugene Haderlie, Don Abbott and others. This publication has become the definitive manual for the intertidal invertebrates of California for over 50 years.