Patricia Bergquist

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Dame Patricia Bergquist
Born Patricia Rose Smyth
(1933-03-10)10 March 1933
Auckland, New Zealand
Died 9 September 2009(2009-09-09) (aged 76)
Occupation Zoologist, anatomist, biologist, educator, researcher

Dame Patricia Rose Bergquist DBE (née Smyth, 10 March 1933 – 9 September 2009) was a New Zealand scientist who specialised in anatomy and taxonomy. She was Professor Emerita of Zoology and Honorary Professor of Anatomy at the University of Auckland.


First attending Devonport Primary School, Bergquist went on to be Dux of Takapuna Grammar School before attending the University of Auckland in 1950. Here she completed her MSc with First Class Honours on the biology of a fern species and a second MSc equivalent in Zoology before going on to obtain her PhD on the taxonomy of the Porifera in 1961.[1]

Following her doctorate she studied overseas, initially at Yale University where she broadened her systematic expertise, becoming an educator and researcher at the University of Auckland on matters related to anatomy, taxonomy and zoology, with particular interest in the marine sponge. She felt a stable framework of higher level classification which would permit recognition of generic relationships and facilitate descriptions of new species was missing.[2]


Bergquist was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1994 New Year Honours for services to science.[3] She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ).

Personal life[edit]

Born to William Smyth, an electrician, and Bertha Smith, a homemaker, she had two siblings: Norman and Catherine. In 1958, she married Peter Bergquist; the couple had a daughter, Claire.[2]


She co-authored (with Mary E. Sinclair) The Morphology and Behaviour of Larvae of Some Intertidal Sponges for the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, which was published on 20 October 1967.


Bergquist died of breast cancer on 9 September 2009, aged 76.[2]