Quay Dortch, PhD

Senior HAB Scientist
NCCOS Program Office and Headquarters
Competitive Research Program

Dr. Dortch currently assists with managing competitive programs that fund research on Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) and also the HAB Event response Program.

Before becoming a consultant with CSS, Dortch managed NCCOS’ Competitive Research Program ECOHAB Program, and developed and managed the PCMHAB Program. She also co-managed the HAB Event Response Program. Dortch had a lead role in implementing the requirements of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) when it was reauthorized in 2004 and provided assistance in implementing the HABHRCA reauthorizations of 2014 and 2017. Prior to coming to NOAA in 2003, she was a faculty member at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium where she conducted research on HABs and hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. She was also an Adjunct Faculty member at Louisiana State University and Nicholls State University. From 1981 to 1986 she was a Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, working on phytoplankton nutrient utilization.

Dortch received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Oceanography, an M.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University, and a B.A. in Chemistry from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College). Dortch is the author or co-author of approximately 90 scientific papers as well as multiple interagency reports assessing the causes and impacts of HABs and proposing plans for improving research and response to HABs.


NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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