Christopher Tanner

Professor Emerit of Biology

Christopher Tanner


Chris Tanner is a Professor of Biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Chris grew up in Palo Alto, California, and received a B.A. in biology from Occidental College. He attended graduate school at The University of British Columbia from which he received his Ph.D. in botany with a research focus on the ecology and phylogeny of marine plants. Chris came to St. Mary's College in 1977 and has taught a variety of courses including topics in introductory biology and botany, estuarine and marine ecology, and tropical biology. He has served on scores of faculty committees and taskforces, was the Chair of Biology Department for two terms (1995-99), co-chaired the Middle States Self-Study for Reaccreditation from 2002 to 2005, was the first Steven Muller Distinguished Professor of Science from 2000 to 2003, and was the recipient of the Homer L. Dodge Award for Outstanding Service in 2007. His research interests include the ecology of macroalgae, salt marsh vegetation and seagrasses, the chemical ecology of aquatic organisms, the restoration of submerged aquatic vegetation and oysters in the Chesapeake, and the effects of land use on water quality. Chris was the co-director of the St. Mary’s River Project, a federally and state funded project from 1999 to 2008 to investigate the water quality and living resources of the St. Mary’s River estuary and watershed. He has also received grants from NSF and other sources to study the chemical ecology of tropical seaweeds, seagrass – disease interactions, and seagrass restoration.

Areas of Research Specialization

  • Marine Botany
  • Marine and Estuarine Ecology

Areas of Teaching Specialization

  • Coastal Ecology
  • Tropical Biology
  • Plant Biology


  • B.A. in Biology at Occidental College, 1972
  • Ph.D. in Botany at The University of British Columbia, 1979