L. David Smith

Professor of Biological Sciences

Contact & Office Hours

Sabin­-Reed Hall 229



Ph.D., University of Maryland

M.S., University of South Carolina

B.A., University of Virginia


L. David Smith is a marine ecologist in the Smith College Department of Biological Sciences and a member of the Environmental Science and Policy Program. His research examines marine biological invasions, the role of phenotypic plasticity (environmentally induced changes) in marine invertebrate predator-prey interactions and coral reef conservation. He teaches courses in biodiversity, ecology and conservation, invertebrate diversity, and environmental science and policy. He chaired working groups that developed the major in Environmental Science and Policy and the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS) at Smith. He served as director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program from 2005–16 and currently co-directs the Marine Science and Policy minor and the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Program in Belize.

Smith received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Virginia, a master's in marine science from the University of South Carolina, and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the faculty at Smith College in 2001, he conducted postdoctoral research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Bamfield Marine Station in western Canada and the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, and was an assistant professor at Northeastern University.

Selected Publications

Smith, L. D. 2009. "The role of phenotypic plasticity in marine biological invasions." Pp. 177–202 in G. Rilov and J. A. Crooks (eds.). "Biological Invasions in Marine Ecosystems: Ecological, Management, and Geographic Perspectives." Ecological Studies Series, Vol. 204. Springer.

Baldridge, A. K. and L. D. Smith. 2008. "Temperature constraints on phenotypic plasticity explain biogeographic patterns in predator trophic morphology." Marine Ecology Progress Series 365: 25–34.

Verling, E., G. M. Ruiz, L. D. Smith, B. Galil, A. W. Miller, and K. R. Murphy. 2005. "Supply­side invasion ecology: Characterizing propagule pressure in coastal ecosystems." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272: 1249–56.

Weigle, S. W., L. D. Smith, J. T. Carlton, and J. Pederson. 2005. "Assessing the risks of exotic species introductions via the live marine species trade." Conservation Biology 19: 213–23.

Smith, L. D. 2004. "Biogeographic differences in claw size and performance in an introduced crab predator Carcinus maenas." Marine Ecology Progress Series 276: 209–222.

Smith, L. D., and J. A. Jennings. 2000. "Induced defensive responses by the bivalve Mytilus edulis to predators with different attack modes." Marine Biology 136: 461–469.

Trussell, G. C., and L. D. Smith. 2000. "Induced defenses in response to an invading crab predator: an explanation of historical and geographic phenotypic change." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97: 2123–2127.

Smith, L. D., M. J. Wonham, L. D. McCann, G. M. Ruiz, A. H. Hines, and J. T. Carlton. 1999. "Invasion pressure to a ballast­ flooded estuary and an assessment of inoculant survival." Biological Invasions 1: 67–87.

Juanes, F. and L.D. Smith.  1995.  “The ecological consequences of limb damage and loss in decapod crustaceans: a review and prospectus.” Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 193: 197-223.

Smith, L.D. and A.R. Palmer. 1994. “Effects of manipulated diet on size and performance of brachyuran crab claws.” Science 264: 710-712.