Prescott Prize to Diane and Mark Littler

The Phycological Society of America (PSA), a scientific society that promotes the study of algae, will present its 2002 Gerald W. Prescott Prize to Diane Littler, Research Associate, and Mark Littler, Senior Scientist, of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Department of Systematic Biology, for their book Caribbean Reef Plants: An Identification Guide to the Reef Plants of the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida and Gulf of Mexico (2000. OffShore Graphics, Inc., Washington, DC. 542 pp.)

The Prescott Prize is an endowed award that honors highly meritorious scholarly work in the form of a book or monograph devoted to the algae and published during the last two years.

The fruit of fifteen years of exploration in the waters of the greater Caribbean, the Littlers' book is being recognized for "its comprehensive treatment of the flora of the Caribbean, the abundance of excellent plates and line drawings, and the detail and editing of the text and keys". The book combines the features of a user-friendly, photographic field guide and a scholarly monograph, with morphological and anatomical information for 565 species of marine plants.

More than 700 underwater color photographs illustrate the beauty and diversity of the marine flora. The photos enable the user to "picture-key" specimens initially and then to make a positive identification using the dichotomous keys, along with descriptions of individual species and more than 1,600 line drawings that illustrate morphological and anatomical features. Complementary information for each species includes abundance, geographical distribution, and habitat information. The book is enlivened by numerous captioned photographs that depict interesting reef phenomena, including hidden algal habitats, photosynthetic symbioses, competition for space, herbivory, animal camouflage and gardening behavior, and marine botanists at work.

The marine plants featured in the Littlers' identification gu

Contact: Michele Urie
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

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