Susan Lynn Williams: the Life of an Exceptional Scholar, Leader, and Friend (1951–2018)

William C. Dennison, Matthew E.S. Bracken, Maria Brown, John F. Bruno, James T. Carlton, Robert C. Carpenter, Tim J.B. Carruthers, Megan N. Dethier, Carlos M. Duarte, Thomas R. Fisher, James W. Fourqurean, Richard K. Grosberg, Leila J. Hamdan, Ken L. Heck, Dan J. Howard, A. Randall Hughes, Brent B. Hughes, Gary A. Kendrick, W. Judson Kenworthy, Frank MarsC. Peter McRoy, Rosamond L. Naylor, Bruce Nyden, John C. Ogden, Suzanne Olyarnik, Robert J. Orth, Frederick T. Short, Cascade J.B. Sorte, John J. Stachowicz, Donald R. Strong, Christine Sur, Michelle Waycott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Susan Lynn Williams (1951–2018) was an exceptional marine ecologist whose research focused broadly on the ecology of benthic nearshore environments dominated by seagrasses, seaweeds, and coral reefs. She took an empirical approach founded in techniques of physiological ecology. Susan was committed to applying her research results to ocean management through outreach to decision-makers and resource managers. Susan’s career included research throughout the USA in tropical, temperate, and polar regions, but she specialized in tropical marine ecology. Susan’s scholarship, leadership, and friendship touched many people, leading to this multi-authored paper. Susan’s scholarship was multi-faceted, and she excelled in scientific discovery, integration of scientific results, application of science for conservation, and teaching, especially as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Susan served in a variety of leadership positions throughout her career. She embodied all facets of leadership; leading by example, listening to others, committing to the “long haul,” maintaining trust, and creating a platform for all to shine. Susan was an important role model for women in science. Susan was also a loyal friend, maintaining friendships for many decades. Susan loved cooking and entertaining with friends. This paper provides an overview of the accomplishments of Susan in the broad categories of scholarship, leadership, and friendship.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalEstuaries and Coasts
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-02-02
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Susan Williams’ family, Bruce Nyden, Holly Williams, Art Hansen, and Kaitlin Williams Hansen for their input. A special heartfelt thanks, as they suffer the loss that we all feel and more. Deedee Shideler and Tessa Hill were very helpful. Staff and students at the UC Davis and Coastal Marine Sciences Institute and the Bodega Marine Laboratory organized a memorial for Susan, which allowed many of the co-authors an opportunity to gather materials used to generate this paper. In addition, we thank them for establishing a Susan Lynn Williams Memorial Fund. An anonymous reviewer made many useful editorial comments.


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