Patrick Neale

Photo of Patrick Neale Senior Research Scientist
Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Env Research Ctr 647 Contees Wharf Rd
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
Phone: 443-482-2285

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

Effects of Light on Living Organisms, particularly UV on Phytoplankton and Marine Microbiota, Long Term Variation of Incident UV, UV Transmittance of Natural Waters, Dynamics of Dissolved Organic Matter, Citizen Science approaches to monitoring water quality

View Patrick's CV

Biographical Sketch

I received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from SUNY Purchase College, then went on to a M.A. in statistics at Columbia University and Ph.D. in aquatic ecology at the University of California, Davis.  I have been a research scientist at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center since 1993 supervising the Photobiology and Solar Radiation laboratory. My research focuses on the effects of sunlight, especially ultraviolet radiation, on aquatic ecosystems.  I work in both freshwater, estuarine and marine systems focusing on the responses of the microbiota, especially phytoplankton. A research objective has been to establish spectral response functions for various types of UV effects, e.g. biological weighting functions for inhibition of photosynthesis.  These have been applied to assessing the effects of increased UV-B due to Antarctic ozone depletion on the productivity of the Southern Ocean and more recently, to picophytoplankton production in the temperate/tropical oceans. I also direct the Smithsonian solar-radiation monitoring program which has been measuring UV-B radiation in Maryland since the 1970s compiling one of the world’s longest records of spectral irradiance.

More recently, I have started a program to enable citizen scientists to monitor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using optical methods, the Chesapeake Water Watch program (


  • B.A., Environmental Science, State University of New York, Purchase, 1976
  • M.A., Statistics, Columbia Universityy, 1981
  • Ph.D., Aquatic Ecology, University of California, Davis, 1985
  • Postdoc, Molecular Mechanisms of Photoinhibition, University of California, Berkeley
  • Postdoc, Phytoplankton Ecology, Freshwater Biological Association, U.K.

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