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John Hobbie

MBL Scientist John Hobbie to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

WOODS HOLE, MA - John E. Hobbie, a distinguished scientist at the MBL in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has been named the recipient of the Odum Lifetime Achievement Award from the Estuarine Research Federation.

The award recognizes the lifetime achievements of an outstanding scientist who has had a sustained a record of important contributions to our understanding of estuaries. The award was presented to Hobbie on October 16, at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Estuarine Research Federation in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hobbie has sustained an impressive array of research and outreach activities for over 40 years. His research has attempted to identify the factors controlling decomposition and productivity within aquatic ecosystems. His current research interests center on the role of microbes in freshwater, estuarine, and soil ecosystems.

Hobbie received a B.A. in Zoology from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. Following a research associate position at the University of California, Davis and a postdoctoral fellowship at Uppsala University in Sweden, he held a faculty position at North Carolina State University from 1965 to 1976, starting as an assistant professor and eventually advancing into full Professor rank. Hobbie was Director of the MBL’s Ecosystems Center from 1984 to 1989 and now serves as its co-director with Jerry Melillo. Last summer, the MBL named Hobbie a Distinguished Scientist for his outstanding achievements and service.

In addition to his work at the MBL, Hobbie was President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography from 1984 to 1986, served on the Board of Directors for the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. from 1989 to 2001, and served on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission from 1996 to 2004. He is currently a member of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Programs Executive Committee and is the director of the Arctic LTER project. In this role, Hobbie continues as a tireless and effective advocate of coastal and arctic research.

Hobbie received recognition as an outstanding scientist from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography when he was awarded the Hutchinson Award for Research for revolutionizing the understanding of the importance of bacteria in natural waters. In 1988, he was also awarded the prestigious Tage Erlander Visiting Professor Award from the Royal Academy of Science that supported a year of lectures and research throughout Sweden.

Hobbie has published more than 140 research articles and has edited several books. His 1975 paper with Ralph Daley, “Direct Counts of Aquatic Bacteria by a Modified Epifluorescence Technique,” is one of the most cited papers in all of ecology. He is a noted author whose writings cover a wide range of topics ranging from arctic limnology to coastal ocean biogeochemistry and microbial activity in oceans, lakes, and soils.

The Odum Award is named for the three outstanding ecological scientists in the Odum family: Dr. Howard T. Odum; Dr. Eugene P. Odum and Dr. William H. Odum III. It honors an individual whose record of sustained accomplishments has made important contributions to our understanding of estuaries and coastal ecosystems.


The MBL is an international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit the MBL website.