Norris, James N. (Emeritus)
United States National Museum of Natural History
Aquatic Botany/Plants
Jim was born on September 8, 1942, and raised in Santa Barbara, California, where he developed strong interests in the outdoors. Following his naturalist tendencies, he completed a BA degree in 1968 in biology at the then San Francisco State College, an MA degree in 1971 in marine biology at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories of San Francisco State University, and a PhD degree in 1975 in marine botany at the University of California at Santa Barbara. From 1972 to 1974, he was station director and resident marine biologist at the Laboratorio de Biología Marina of the University of Arizona and Universidad de Sonora at Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. He was a research scientist and curator of the algae collection (U.S. National Herbarium) in the Botany Section, Department of Systematic Biology, National Museum of Natural History from August 1975 to 2002 with research in the biodiversity and ecology of marine algae. Jim held many positions as adjunct professor: at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (1997-present), the University of Hawaii (1987-2002), and George Mason University (1983-2002). He is also a research associate at Bishop Museum in Hawaii (1985-2002) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1982-2002). From 1980 to 1988 he managed the Smithsonian Tropical Algal Ecology Research Program that produced four PhD theses. He has served in many capacities in the Museum’s Senate of Scientists, including the chair in 1992 and chair of the Smithsonian Congress of Scholars from 1997 to 2002. He has served as member of the editorial boards of the journal Cryptogamic Botany (1990-97) and Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (1997-2002). With strong interests in education and the training of students, he served as principal or outside advisor to 25 graduate students as well as worked with researchers from all over the world, and has published over 85 research studies. Aside from his phycological interests, he is a member of the nominating and voting panel for candidate selections and inductions to the Motorsports (Museum) Hall of Fame (1990-2002), an assistant scoutmaster (1990-2002), and manager of a junior development mountain bike racing team (1990-2002). Fieldwork has taken him over many parts of the globe, mostly Baja California, Pacific Mexico, the Galapagos, Belize, Panama, Hawaii, Florida, and the Bahamas. Perhaps the most dramatic field work occurred in 1986 while SCUBA diving off Hainan Island (China) when a fisherman illegally using dynamite set off an explosion near him. He is married to Katina Elizabeth Bucher, a biologist and Smithsonian research collaborator, who has participated on numerous field expeditions and published several papers. They have two children, James Alexander and Shaun William. He was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1980 and has served on the research and house and grounds committees.