Valerie Paul has served as Director of the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida, since 2002. She received her B.A. from the University of California San Diego in 1979 with majors in Biology and Studies in Chemical Ecology and her Ph.D. in Marine Biology in 1985 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Valerie joined the faculty of the University of Guam Marine Laboratory in 1985, served as Director of the Laboratory from 1991-1994, and as full Professor from 1993-2002.
Valerie's research interests include marine chemical ecology, marine plant-herbivore interactions, coral reef ecology, harmful algal blooms and marine natural products. She studies the ecological roles of marine toxins and other bioactive compounds (natural products) from marine plants and animals and their natural functions in the marine environment. She has specialized in studying the ecology and chemistry of blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) blooms, including looking for beneficial biomedical uses of the compounds. Valerie recently led a 3-year project at the Smithsonian Marine Station designed to understand the diversity of marine invertebrates in the northern Indian River Lagoon and their functions in mitigating algal blooms. Valerie was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996 and was elected and served as chairperson of the Marine Natural Products Gordon Research Conference in 2000. Her publications include over 275 research articles in scientific journals and books.