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History of ecology

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Title: History of ecology  
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Subject: History of botany, History of biology, History of agricultural science, Outline of natural science, History of biology by subdiscipline
Collection: Ecology, History of Biology by Subdiscipline
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History of ecology

The history of ecology is generally spoken of as a new science, having only become prominent in the second half of the 20th century.[1] Ecological thought is derivative of established currents in philosophy, particularly from ethics and politics.[2] Its history stems all the way back to the 4th century. One of the first ecologists whose writings survive may have been Theodore Roosevelt, Stephen A. Forbes, and post-Dust Bowl conservation. Later in the 20th century world governments collaborated on man’s effects on the biosphere and Earth’s environment.

The history of ecology is intertwined with the history of conservation efforts, in particular the founding of the Nature Conservancy.[11]


  • 18th and 19th century ~ Ecological murmurs 1
    • Arcadian and Imperial Ecology 1.1
    • Carl Linnaeus and Systema Naturae 1.2
    • The botanical geography and Alexander von Humboldt 1.3
    • The notion of biocoenosis: Wallace and Möbius 1.4
    • Warming and the foundation of ecology as discipline 1.5
    • Malthusian influence 1.6
    • Darwinism and the science of ecology 1.7
  • Early 20th century ~ Expansion of ecological thought 2
    • The biosphere – Eduard Suess and Vladimir Vernadsky 2.1
    • The ecosystem: Arthur Tansley 2.2
    • Ecological Succession – Henry Chandler Cowles 2.3
    • Animal Ecology - Charles Elton 2.4
    • G. Evelyn Hutchinson - Father of Modern Ecology 2.5
  • Timeline of ecologists 3
  • Ecological Influence on the Social Sciences and Humanities 4
    • Human ecology 4.1
    • James Lovelock and the Gaia hypothesis 4.2
    • History and Relationship between Ecology and Conservation and Environmental movements 4.3
    • Conservation and Environmental Movements - 20th Century 4.4
    • Roosevelt & American Conservation 4.5
    • Ecology and global policy 4.6
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

18th and 19th century ~ Ecological murmurs

Arcadian and Imperial Ecology

In the early Eighteenth century, preceding Carl Linnaeus, two rival schools of thought dominated the growing scientific discipline of ecology. First,

  • Egerton, F. N. (1977). History of American Ecology. New York:  
  • Simberloff, D. (1980). "A succession of paradigms in ecology: Essentialism to materialism and probabilism". Synthese 43 (1): 3–39.  
  • Egerton, F. N. (1983). "The history of ecology: achievements and opportunities; Part one".  
  • Hagen, J. B. (1992). An Entangled Bank: The Origins of Ecosystem Ecology. New Brunswick, NJ:  
  • Kingsland, S. E. (1995). Modeling Nature: Episodes in the History of Population Ecology (2nd ed.). Chicago:  
  • McIntosh, R. P. (1985). The Background of Ecology: Concept and Theory. Cambridge:  
  • Mitman, G. (1992). The State of Nature: Ecology, Community, and American Social Thought, 1900–1950. 
  • Real, L. A.; Brown, J. H., eds. (1991). Foundations of Ecology: Classic Papers with Commentary. Chicago:  
  • Tobey, R. C. (1981). Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 1895–1955. Berkeley:  
  • Weiner, D. (2000). Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. Pittsburgh:  
  • Worster, D. (1994). Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas. Cambridge:  
  • Acot, P. (1998). The European Origins of Scientific Ecology (1800–1901).  
  • Wilkinson, D. M. (2002). "Ecology before ecology: biogeography and ecology in Lyell's 'Principles'".  
  • von Humboldt, A. (1805). Essai sur la géographie des plantes, accompagné d’un tableau physique des régions équinoxiales, fondé sur les mésures exécutées, depuis le dixième degré de latitude boréale jusqu’au dixième degré de latitude australe, pendant les années 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, et 1903 par A. De Humboldt et A. Bonpland. Paris: Chez Levrault, Schoelle et Cie. Sherborn Fund Facsimile No.1.
  • von Humboldt, A. (1805). Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland. Voyage aux régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent. 5e partie. "Essai sur la géographie des plantes". Paris. Facs intégral de l’édition Paris 1905-1834 par Amsterdam: Theatrum orbis terrarum Ltd., 1973.
  • von Humboldt, A. (1807). Essai sur la géographie des plantes. Facs.ed. London 1959. His essay on "On Isothermal Lines" was published serially in English translation in the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal from 1820 to 1822.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b McIntosh, R. P. (1985). The Background of Ecology: Concept and Theory. New York:  
  2. ^ Eric Laferrière; Peter J. Stoett (2 September 2003). International Relations Theory and Ecological Thought: Towards a Synthesis. Routledge. pp. 25–.  
  3. ^ Ramalay, F. (1940). "The growth of a science". University of Colorado Studies 26: 3–14. 
  4. ^ a b Reid, Gordon Mcgregor (February 2009). "Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778): His Life, Philosophy and Science and Its Relationship to Modern Biology and Medicine". Taxon 58 (1): 18–31. 
  5. ^ a b Silvertown, J.; Poulton, P.; Johnston, E.; Edwards, G.; Heard, M.; Biss, P. M. (2006). "The Park Grass Experiment 1856–2006: its contribution to ecology" (PDF).  
  6. ^ a b c Coleman, W. (1986). "Evolution into ecology? The strategy of Warming's ecological plant geography".  
  7. ^ a b Acot, P. (1997). "The Lamarckian Cradle of Scientific Ecology".  
  8. ^ a b Cowles, H. C. (1911). "The causes of vegetational cycles".  
  9. ^ a b Egerton, F. N. (1973). "Changing Concepts of the Balance of Nature".  
  10. ^ a b Egerton, F. N. (2001). "A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 1: Early Greek Origins" (PDF).  
  11. ^ Smith, S. HI; Mark, S. (2009). "The Historical Roots of the Nature Conservancy in the Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland Region: From Science to Preservation".  
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Worster, D. (1994). Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas.  
  13. ^ Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population, in Oxford World's Classics reprint. p 61, end of Chapter VII
  14. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. viii in Oxford World's Classics reprint.
  15. ^ Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter 1, p 13 in Oxford World's Classics reprint.
  16. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. xviii
  17. ^ van Wyhe, John (2008b). Darwin: The Story of the Man and His Theories of Evolution. London: Andre Deutsch Ltd (published 1 September 2008). ISBN 0-233-00251-0.
  18. ^ Darwin's Malthusian Metaphor and Russian Evolutionary Thought, 1859-1917Author, Daniel P. Todes, p. 537-540
  19. ^ Stauffer, R. C. (1957). "Haeckel, Darwin and Ecology".  
  20. ^ a b Forbes, S. A. (1887). "The Lake as Microcosm" (PDF).  
  21. ^ Paterson, H. (2005). "The Competitive Darwin".  
  22. ^ a b c Kormandy, E. J. (1978). "Ecology/Economy of Nature—Synonyms?".  
  23. ^ Southwood, R.; Clarke, J. R. (1999). "Charles Sutherland Elton. 29 March 1900 -- 1 May: Elected F.R.S. 1953".
  24. ^ Elton, C.S. 1968 reprint. Animal ecology. Great Britain: William Clowes and Sons Ltd.
  25. ^ Wilson, Ken. 2011. Animal Ecology - Legacy of Charles S Elton. ed.Journal of Animal Ecology.
  26. ^ Slobodkin, L.B. "An Appreciation: George Evelyn Hutchinson." Journal of Animal Ecology Vol. 62, no2 (1993): 390-394. Accessed February 24, 2014.
  27. ^ Lovejoy, T. E. (2011). "George Evelyn Hutchinson. 13 January 1903 -- 17 May 1991". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 57: 167–177. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2010.0016
  28. ^ Egerton, F. N. (2007). "A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 23: Linnaeus and the Economy of Nature".  
  29. ^ [2]
  30. ^ Darwin, C. (1859). On the Origin of Species (1st ed.). London:  
  31. ^ Country Towns, and the Place They Fill in Modern Civilization. Covent Garden:  
  32. ^ Hardie-Budden, M. (2014). "Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne: A 19th century Hypatia and her circle". Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall (Royal Geological Society of Cornwall) 23 (1): 16–39.  
  33. ^ Futuyma, D. J. (2005). "The Nature of Natural Selection". In Cracraft, J.; Bybee, R. W. Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation.  
  34. ^ Glaubrecht, M. (2008). "Homage to Karl August Möbius (1825–1908) and his contributions to biology: zoologist, ecologist, and director at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin".  
  35. ^ a b Baker, H. G. (1966). "Reasoning about adaptations in ecosystems".  
  36. ^ Nyhart, L. K. (1998). "Civic and Economic Zoology in Nineteenth-Century Germany: The "Living Communities" of Karl Mobius".  
  37. ^ Palamar, C. R. (2008). "The Justice of Ecological Restoration: Environmental History, Health, Ecology, and Justice in the United States" (PDF).  
  38. ^
  39. ^ Forbes, S. A. (1915). "The ecological foundations of applied entomology" (PDF).  
  40. ^ Cohen, J. E. (1987). "Lotka, Alfred James (1880–1949)". In Eatwell, J.; Newman, P. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (PDF). New York:  
  41. ^ Volterra, V. (1926). "Fluctuations in the Abundance of a Species considered Mathematically".  
  42. ^ Adams, C. C.; Fuller, G. D. (1940). "Henry Chandler Cowles, Physiographic Plant Ecologist".  
  43. ^ Smuts, Jan Christiaan (1926). "Holism and Evolution". Nature 119 (2991): 307.  
  44. ^ Cooper, W. S. (1957). "Sir Arthur Tansley and the Science of Ecology".  
  45. ^ a b c Kingsland, S. E. (1994). "Review: The History of Ecology".  
  46. ^ Ilerbaig, J. (1999). "Allied Sciences and Fundamental Problems: C.C. Adams and the Search for Method in Early American Ecology".  
  47. ^ Raup, H. M. (1959). "Charles C. Adams, 1873–1955".  
  48. ^ a b c Simberloff, D. (1980). "A succession of paradigms in ecology: Essentialism to materialism and probalism".  
  49. ^ a b c d Ellison, A. M. (2006). "What Makes an Ecological Icon".  
  50. ^ Kendeigh, S. C. (1968). "Victor Ernest Shelford, Eminent Ecologist, 1968".  
  51. ^ Berryman, A. A. (1992). "The Origins and Evolution of Predator-Prey Theory" (PDF).  
  52. ^ McIntosh, R. P. (1975). "H. A. Gleason-"Individualistic Ecologist" 1882–1975: His Contributions to Ecological Theory".  
  53. ^ Southwood, R.; Clarke, J. R. (1999). "Charles Sutherland Elton. 29 March 1900-1 May 1991".  
  54. ^ Flannery, M. C. (2003). "Evelyn Hutchinson: A Wonderful Mind".  
  55. ^ Edmondson, Y. H. (1991). "In Memoriam: G. Evelyn Hutchinson, 1903–1991".  
  56. ^ Patrick, R. (1994). "George Evelyn Hutchinson (30 January 1903–17 May 1991)".  
  57. ^ a b Gunderson, L.; Folke, C.; Lee, M.; Holling, C. S. (2002). "In memory of mavericks".  
  58. ^ a b Rotabi, K. S. (2007). "Ecological Theory Origin from Natural to Social Science of Vice Versa? A Brief Conceptual History for Social Work".  
  59. ^ Patten, B. C. (1993). "Toward a more holistic ecology, and science: the contribution of H.T. Odum".  
  60. ^ Ewel, J. J. (2003). "Howard Thomas Odum (1924–2002)".  
  61. ^ Brown, J. H. (1999). "The Legacy of Robert Macarthur: From Geographical Ecology to Macroecology".  
  62. ^ Levin, Simon A. (1998). "Ecosystems and the Biosphere as Complex Adaptive Systems". Ecosystems 1 (5): 431–436.  
  63. ^ Allee, W. C.; Emerson, A. E.; Park, O.; Park, T.; Schmidt, K. P. (1949). Principles of Animal Ecology. Philadelphia:  
  64. ^ Kingsland, S. E. (1985). Modeling Nature: Episodes in the History of Ecology. Chicago:  
  65. ^ Huxley, J. S. (1942). Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. London:  
  66. ^ Kingsland, S. E. (2005). The Evolution of American Ecology: 1890–2000. Baltimore:  
  67. ^ a b Coker, R. A. (1991). Pioneer Ecologist: The Life and Work of Victor Ernest Shelford, 1877–1968. Washington:  
  68. ^ Shelford, V. E. (1917). "The Ideals and Aims of the Ecological Society of America".  
  69. ^ Forbes, S. A. (1922). "The Humanizing of Ecology".  
  70. ^ Adams, C. C. (1935). "The Relation of General Ecology to Human Ecology".  
  71. ^ Clements, F. E. (1935). "Experimental Ecology in the Public Service".  
  72. ^ Sears, P. B. (1935). Deserts on the March. Norman:  
  73. ^ Adams, C. C. (1947). "First Report of the committee of the Ecological Society of America for an Endowment Policy and Program".  
  74. ^ Thomas, W. L. Jr., ed. (1956). Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth. Chicago:  
  75. ^ Hagen, J. B. (1992). An Entangled Bank, The Origins of Ecosystem Ecology. New Brunswick, NJ:  
  76. ^ Dritschilo, W. (2004). Earth Days: Ecology Comes of Age as a Science.  
  77. ^ Miller, R. S. (1965). "Summary Report of the Ecological Study Committee with Recommendations for the Future of Ecology and the Ecological Society of America".  
  78. ^ Dritschilo, W. (2006). "Rachel Carson and Mid-Twentieth Century Ecology".  
  79. ^ Blair, W. F. (1977). Big Biology: The US/IBP. Stroudsburg, PA:  
  80. ^ Kwa, C. (1987). "Representations of Nature Mediating between Ecology and Science Policy: The Case of the International Biological Programme".  
  81. ^ Curlin, J. W. (1972). "Courts, Ecology, and Environmental Planning".  
  82. ^ Auerbach, S. I. (1972). "Ecology, Ecologists and the E.S.A".  
  83. ^ Schindler, D. W. (1976). "The Impact Statement Boondoggle".  
  84. ^
  85. ^ "Eleven". 1970-04-22. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  86. ^ Dale, V. H.; Barrett, G. W.; Carpenter, A. T.; Hinkle, C. R.; Mitsch, W. J.; Pitelka, L. F. (2000). "ESA's Professional Certification Program: Let's Make It Work".  
  87. ^ Suter, G. W. (1981). "Ecosystem Theory and NEPA Assessment".  
  88. ^ Peters, R. H. (1976). "Tautology in Evolution and Ecology".  
  89. ^ Peters, R. H. (1991). A Critique for Ecology. Cambridge:  
  90. ^ Simberloff, D. S.; Abele, L. G. (1976). "Island Biogeography Theory and Conservation Practice".  
  91. ^ Chase, A. (1995). In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests and the Rising Tyranny of Ecology. New York:  
  92. ^ Takacs, D. (1996). The Idea of Biodiversity: Philosophies of Paradise. Baltimore:  
  93. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt and the Environment". PBS. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  94. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt and conservation". National Park Service. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 


See also

Then, in 1997, the dangers the biosphere was facing were recognized all over the world at the conference leading to the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, this conference highlighted the increasing dangers of the greenhouse effect – related to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to global changes in climate. In Kyoto, most of the world's nations recognized the importance of looking at ecology from a global point of view, on a worldwide scale, and to take into account the impact of humans on the Earth's environment.

In 1972, the United Nations held the first international Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, prepared by Rene Dubos and other experts. This conference was the origin of the phrase "Think Globally, Act Locally". The next major events in ecology were the development of the concept of biosphere and the appearance of terms "biological diversity"—or now more commonly biodiversity—in the 1980s. These terms were developed during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where the concept of the biosphere was recognized by the major international organizations, and risks associated with reductions in biodiversity were publicly acknowledged.

Ecology became a central part of the World's politics as early as 1971, UNESCO launched a research program called Man and Biosphere, with the objective of increasing knowledge about the mutual relationship between humans and nature. A few years later it defined the concept of Biosphere Reserve.

Ecology and global policy

Theodore Roosevelt was interested in nature from a young age. He carried his passion for nature into his political policies. Roosevelt felt it was necessary to preserve the resources of the nation and it's environment. In 1902 he created the federal reclamation service, which reclaimed land for agriculture. He also created the Bureau of Forestry. This organization, headed by Gifford Pinchot, was formed to manage and maintain the nations timberlands.[93] Roosevelt signed the Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities in 1906. This act allowed for him to "declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic and scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be National Monuments." Under this act he created up to 18 national monuments. During his presidency, Roosevelt established 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 4 National Game Preserves, 150 National Forests, and 5 National Parks. Overall he protected over 200 million acres of land.[94]

Roosevelt & American Conservation

Conservation for ecologists created travails paralleling those nuclear power gave former Manhattan Project scientists. In each case, science had to be reconciled with individual politics, religious beliefs, and worldviews, a difficult process. Some ecologists managed to keep their science separate from their advocacy; others unrepentantly became avowed environmentalists.[92]

Post-Earth Day, besides questions of advocacy and professionalism, ecology also had to deal with questions having to do with its basic principles. Many of the theoretical principles and methods of both ecosystem science and evolutionary ecology began to show little value in environmental analysis and assessment.[87] Ecologist, in general, started to question the methods and logic of their science under the pressure of its new notoriety.[48][88][89] Meanwhile, personnel with government agencies and environmental advocacy groups were accused of religiously applying dubious principles in their conservation work.[90] Management of endangered Spotted Owl populations brought the controversy to a head.[91]

The environmental assessment requirement of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), "legitimized ecology," in the words of one environmental lawyer.[81] An ESA President called it "an ecological ‘Magna Carta.’"[82] A prominent Canadian ecologist declared it a "boondoggle."[83] NEPA and similar state statutes, if nothing else, provided much employment for ecologists. Therein was the issue. Neither ecology nor ecologists were ready for the task. Not enough ecologists were available to work on impact assessment, outside of the DOE laboratories, leading to the rise of "instant ecologists,"[84] having dubious credentials and capabilities. Calls began to arise for the professionalization of ecology. Maverick scientist Frank Egler, in particular, devoted his sharp prose to the task.[85] Again, a schism arose between basic and applied scientists in the ESA, this time exacerbated by the question of environmental advocacy. The controversy, whose history has yet to receive adequate treatment, lasted through the 1970s and 1980s, ending with a voluntary certification process by the ESA, along with lobbying arm in Washington.[86]

Carson’s concept of ecology was very much that of Gene Odum.[78] As a result, ecosystem science dominated the International Biological Program of the 1960s and 1970s, bringing both money and prestige to ecology.[79][80] Silent Spring was also the impetus for the environmental protection programs that were started in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and passed into law just before the first Earth Day. Ecologists’ input was welcomed. Former ESA President Stanley Cain, for example, was appointed an Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Interior.

The second event was the publication of Silent Spring. Rachel Carson’s book brought ecology as a word and concept to the public. Her influence was instant. A study committee, prodded by the publication of the book, reported to the ESA that their science was not ready to take on the responsibility being given to it.[77]

Two events, however, brought ecology’s course back to applied problems. One was the Manhattan Project. It had become the Nuclear Energy Commission after the war. It is now the Department of Energy (DOE). Its ample budget included studies of the impacts of nuclear weapon use and production. That brought ecology to the issue, and it made a "Big Science" of it.[12][75] Ecosystem science, both basic and applied, began to compete with theoretical ecology (then called evolutionary ecology and also mathematical ecology). Eugene Odum, who published a very popular ecology textbook in 1953, became the champion of the ecosystem. In his publications, Odum called for ecology to have an ecosystem and applied focus.[76]

The tension between pure ecology, seeking to understand and explain, and applied ecology, seeking to describe and repair, came to a head after World War II. Adams again tried to push the ESA into applied areas by having it raise an endowment to promote ecology. He predicted that "a great expansion of ecology" was imminent "because of its integrating tendency."[73] Ecologists, however, were sensitive to the perception that ecology was still not considered a rigorous, quantitative science. Those who pushed for applied studies and active involvement in conservation were once more discretely rebuffed. Human ecology became subsumed by sociology. It was sociologist [74] Within the ESA, a frustrated Shelford started the Ecologists’ Union when his Committee on Preservation of Natural Conditions ceased to function due to the political infighting over the ESA stance on conservation.[67] In 1950, the fledgling organization was renamed and incorporated as the Nature Conservancy, a name borrowed from the British government agency for the same purpose.

Interest in the environment created by the American Dust Bowl produced a flurry of calls in 1935 for ecology to take a look at practical issues. Pioneering ecologist C. C. Adams wanted to return human ecology to the science.[70] Frederic E. Clements, the dominant plant ecologist of the day, reviewed land use issues leading to the Dust Bowl in terms of his ideas on plant succession and climax.[71] Paul Sears reached a wide audience with his book, Deserts on the March.[72] World War II, perhaps, caused the issue to be put aside.

This auspicious start actually was the first of a series of fitful progressions and reversions by the new science with regard to conservation. Human ecology necessarily focused on man-influenced environments and their practical problems. Ecologists in general, however, were trying to establish ecology as a basic science, one with enough prestige to make inroads into Ivy League faculties. Disturbed environments, it was thought, would not reveal nature’s secrets.

When the Ecological Society of America (ESA) was chartered in 1915, it already had a conservation perspective.[67] Victor E. Shelford, a leader in the society’s formation, had as one of its goals the preservation of the natural areas that were then the objects of study by ecologists, but were in danger of being degraded by human incursion.[68] Human ecology had also been a visible part of the ESA at its inception, as evident by publications such as: "The Control of Pneumonia and Influenza by the Weather," "An Overlook of the Relations of Dust to Humanity," "The Ecological Relations of the Polar Eskimo," and "City Street Dust and Infectious Diseases," in early pages of Ecology and Ecological Monographs. The ESA’s second president, Ellsworth Huntington, was a human ecologist. Stephen Forbes, another early president, called for "humanizing" ecology in 1921, since man was clearly the dominant species on the Earth.[69]

Conservation and Environmental Movements - 20th Century

Neither Darwin nor Haeckel, it is true, did self-avowed ecological studies. The same can be said for researchers in a number of fields who contributed to ecological thought well into the 1940s without avowedly being ecologists.[1][63] Raymond Pearl’s population studies are a case in point.[64] Ecology in subject matter and techniques grew out of studies by botanists and plant geographers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that paradoxically lacked Darwinian evolutionary perspectives. Until Mendel’s studies with peas were rediscovered and melded into the Modern Synthesis,[65] Darwinism suffered in credibility. Many early plant ecologists had a Lamarckian view of inheritance, as did Darwin, at times. Ecological studies of animals and plants, preferably live and in the field, continued apace however.[66]

The history of ecology, however, should not be conflated with that of environmental thought. Ecology as a modern science traces only from Darwin’s publication of [10] Ecology before Darwin, however, is analogous to medicine prior to Pasteur’s discovery of the infectious nature of disease. The history is there, but it is only partly relevant.

Environmentalists and other conservationists have used ecology and other sciences (e.g., climatology) to support their advocacy positions. Environmentalist views are often controversial for political or economic reasons. As a result, some scientific work in ecology directly influences policy and political debate; these in turn often direct ecological research.

History and Relationship between Ecology and Conservation and Environmental movements

This vision was largely a sign of the times, in particular the growing perception after the Second World War that human activities such as nuclear energy, industrialization, pollution, and overexploitation of natural resources, fueled by exponential population growth, were threatening to create catastrophes on a planetary scale, and has influenced many in the environmental movement since then.

The [62]

James Lovelock and the Gaia hypothesis

In recent years human ecology has been a topic that has interested organizational researchers. Hannan and Freeman (Population Ecology of Organizations (1977), American Journal of Sociology) argue that organizations do not only adapt to an environment. Instead it is also the environment that selects or rejects populations of Organizational ecology has been a prominent theory in accounting for diversities of organizations and their changing composition over time.

Human ecology began in the 1920s, through the study of changes in vegetation succession in the city of Chicago. It became a distinct field of study in the 1970s. This marked the first recognition that humans, who had colonized all of the Earth's continents, were a major ecological factor. Humans greatly modify the environment through the development of the habitat (in particular urban planning), by intensive exploitation activities such as logging and fishing, and as side effects of agriculture, mining, and industry. Besides ecology and biology, this discipline involved many other natural and social sciences, such as anthropology and ethnology, economics, demography, architecture and urban planning, medicine and psychology, and many more. The development of human ecology led to the increasing role of ecological science in the design and management of cities.

Human ecology

Ecological Influence on the Social Sciences and Humanities

A list of founders, innovators and their significant contributions to ecology, from Romanticism onward.
Notable figure Lifespan Major contribution & citation
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 1632–1723 First to develop concept of food chains
Carl Linnaeus 1707–1778 Influential naturalist, inventor of science on the economy of nature[22][28]
Alexander Humboldt 1769–1859 First to describe ecological gradient of latitudinal biodiversity increase toward the tropics [29] in 1807
Charles Darwin 1809–1882 Founder of the hypothesis of evolution by means of natural selection, founder of ecological studies of soils[30]
Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne 1817-1873 Geologist, mineralogist and philosopher who observed rural vs urban living, spatially and culturally, finding in country living the best attack on suffocating class divides, healthier living, and best access to natural education.[31][32]
Herbert Spencer 1820–1903 Early founder of social ecology, coined the phrase 'survival of the fittest'[22][33]
Karl Möbius 1825–1908 First to develop concept of ecological community, biocenosis, or living community[34][35][36]
Ernst Haeckel 1834–1919 Invented the term ecology, popularized research links between ecology and evolution
Victor Hensen 1835–1924 Invented term plankton, developed quantitative and statistical measures of productivity in the seas
Eugenius Warming 1841–1924 Early founder of Ecological Plant Geography[6]
Ellen Swallow Richards 1842–1911 Pioneer and educator who linked urban ecology to human health[37]
Stephen Forbes 1844–1930 Early founder of entomology and ecological concepts in 1887 [20][38][39]
Vito Volterra 1860–1940 Independently pioneered mathematical populations models around the same time as Alfred J. Lotka.[40][41]
Vladimir Vernadsky 1869–1939 Founded the biosphere concept
Henry C. Cowles 1869–1939 Pioneering studies and conceptual development in studies of ecological succession[42]
Jan Christiaan Smuts 1870–1950 Coined the term holism in a 1926 book Holism and Evolution.[43]
Arthur G. Tansley 1871–1955 First to coin the term ecosystem in 1936 and notable researcher[35][44][45]
Charles Christopher Adams 1873–1955 Animal ecologist, biogeographer, author of first American book on animal ecology in 1913, founded ecological energetics[46][47]
Friedrich Ratzel 1844–1904 German geographer who first coined the term biogeography in 1891.
Frederic Clements 1874–1945 Authored the first influential American ecology book in 1905[48]
Victor Ernest Shelford 1877–1968 Founded physiological ecology, pioneered food-web and biome concepts, founded The Nature Conservancy[49][50]
Alfred J. Lotka 1880–1949 First to pioneer mathematical populations models explaining trophic (predator-prey) interactions using logistic equation[51]
Henry Gleason 1882–1975 Early ecology pioneer, quantitative theorist, author, and founder of the individualistic concept of ecology[48][52]
Charles S. Elton 1900–1991 'Father' of animal ecology, pioneered food-web & niche concepts and authored influential Animal Ecology text[49][53]
G. Evelyn Hutchinson 1903–1991 Limnologist and conceptually advanced the niche concept[54][55][56]
Eugene P. Odum 1913–2002 Co-founder of ecosystem ecology and ecological thermodynamic concepts[45][49][57][58]
Howard T. Odum 1924–2002 Co-founder of ecosystem ecology and ecological thermodynamic concepts[45][49][57][58][59][60]
Robert MacArthur 1930–1972 Co-founder on Theory of Island Biogeography and innovator of ecological statistical methods[61]

Timeline of ecologists

Hutchinson was also one of the first credited with combining ecology with mathematics. Another major contribution of Hutchinson was his development of the current definition of an organism’s “niche” – as he recognized the role of an organism within its community. Finally, along with his great impact within the discipline of ecology throughout his professional years, Hutchinson also left a lasting impact in ecology through his many students he inspired. [27] Hutchinson is also attributed as being the first to infuse science with theory within the discipline of ecology.[26]

G. Evelyn Hutchinson - Father of Modern Ecology

20th century English zoologist and ecologist, Charles Elton, is commonly credited as “the father of animal ecology”.[23] Elton influenced by Victor Shelford’s Animal Communities in Temperate America began his research on animal ecology as an assistant to his colleague, Julian Huxley, on an ecological survey of the fauna in Spitsbergen in 1921. Elton’s most famous studies were conducted during his time as a biological consultant to the Hudson Bay Company to help understand the fluctuations in the company’s fur harvests. Elton studied the population fluctuations and dynamics of snowshoe hare, Canadian lynx, and other mammals of the region. Elton is also considered the first to coin the terms, food chain and food cycle in his famous book Animal Ecology.[24] Elton is also attributed with contributing to disciplines of: invasion ecology, community ecology, and wildlife disease ecology.[25]

Animal Ecology - Charles Elton

At the turn of the 20th century, Henry Chandler Cowles was one of the founders of the emerging study of "dynamic ecology", through his study of ecological succession at the Indiana Dunes, sand dunes at the southern end of Lake Michigan. Here Cowles found evidence of ecological succession in the vegetation and the soil with relation to age. Cowles was very much aware of the roots of the concept and of his (primordial) predecessors.[8] Thus, he attributes the first use of the word to the French naturalist Adolphe Dureau de la Malle, who had described the vegetation development after forest clear-felling, and the first comprehensive study of successional processes to the Finnish botanist Ragnar Hult (1881).

The Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan, which Cowles referred to in his development of his theories of ecological succession.

Ecological Succession – Henry Chandler Cowles

Tansley's concept of the ecosystem was adopted by the energetic and influential biology educator Eugene Odum. Along with his brother, Howard T. Odum, Eugene P. Odum wrote a textbook which (starting in 1953) educated more than one generation of biologists and ecologists in North America.

It was in 1935 that Arthur Tansley, the British ecologist, coined the term ecosystem, the interactive system established between the biocoenosis (the group of living creatures), and their biotope, the environment in which they live. Ecology thus became the science of ecosystems.

Over the 19th century, botanical geography and zoogeography combined to form the basis of biogeography. This science, which deals with habitats of species, seeks to explain the reasons for the presence of certain species in a given location.

The ecosystem: Arthur Tansley

First ecological damages were reported in the 18th century, as the multiplication of colonies caused deforestation. Since the 19th century, with the industrial revolution, more and more pressing concerns have grown about the impact of human activity on the environment. The term ecologist has been in use since the end of the 19th century.

In the 1920s Vladimir I. Vernadsky, a Russian geologist who had defected to France, detailed the idea of the biosphere in his work "The biosphere" (1926), and described the fundamental principles of the biogeochemical cycles. He thus redefined the biosphere as the sum of all ecosystems.

By the 19th century, ecology blossomed due to new discoveries in chemistry by Lavoisier and de Saussure, notably the nitrogen cycle. After observing the fact that life developed only within strict limits of each compartment that makes up the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, the Austrian geologist Eduard Suess proposed the term biosphere in 1875. Suess proposed the name biosphere for the conditions promoting life, such as those found on Earth, which includes flora, fauna, minerals, matter cycles, et cetera.

The biosphere – Eduard Suess and Vladimir Vernadsky

Early 20th century ~ Expansion of ecological thought

[22][12] Despite most portrayals of Darwin conveying him as a non-aggressive recluse who let others fight his battles, Darwin remained all his life a man nearly obsessed with the ideas of competition, struggle and conquest – with all forms of human contact as confrontation.[12] The mechanisms other than competition that he described, primarily the divergence of character which can reduce competition and his statement that "struggle" as he used it was metaphorical and thus included environmental selection, were given less emphasis in the Origin than competition.[21] is full of observations and proposed mechanisms that clearly fit within the boundaries of modern ecology (e.g. the cat-to-clover chain – an ecological cascade) and because the term ecology was coined in 1866 by a strong proponent of Darwinism, On the Origin of Species This contention may look convincing at first glance inasmuch as [19] It is often held that the roots of scientific ecology may be traced back to Darwin.

Julia Margaret Cameron’s portrait of Darwin

Darwinism and the science of ecology

In An Essay on the Principle of Population Malthus argues for the reining in of rising population through 2 checks: Positive and Preventive checks. The first raising death rates, the later lowers birthing rates.[14] Malthus also brings forth the idea that the world population will move past the sustainable number of people.[15] This form of thought still continues to influences debates on birth and marriage rates to this theory brought forth by Malthus.[16] The essay had a major influence on Charles Darwin and helped him to theories his theory of Natural Selection.[17] This struggle proposed by Malthusian thought not only influenced the ecological work of Charles Darwin, but helped bring about an economic theory of world of ecology.[18]

That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence, That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and, That the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice.[13]

Thomas Robert Malthus was an influential writer on the subject of population and population limits in the early 19th century. His works were very important in shaping the ways in which Darwin saw the world worked. Malthus wrote:

Malthusian influence

While morphology and anatomy, i.e. adaptation, to explain why a species occurred under a certain set of environmental conditions. Moreover, the goal of the new discipline was to explain why species occupying similar habitats, experiencing similar hazards, would solve problems in similar ways, despite often being of widely different phylogenetic descent. Based on his personal observations in Brazilian cerrado, in Denmark, Norwegian Finnmark and Greenland, Warming gave the first university course in ecological plant geography. Based on his lectures, he wrote the book ‘Plantesamfund’, which was immediate translated to German, Polish and Russian, later to English as ‘Oecology of Plants’. Through its German edition, the book had immense effect on British and North American scientist like Arthur Tansley, Henry Chandler Cowles and Frederic Clements.[6]

Warming and the foundation of ecology as discipline

Alfred Russel Wallace, contemporary and colleague of Darwin, was first to propose a "geography" of animal species. Several authors recognized at the time that species were not independent of each other, and grouped them into plant species, animal species, and later into communities of living beings or biocoenosis. The first use of this term is usually attributed to Karl Möbius in 1877, but already in 1825, the French naturalist Adolphe Dureau de la Malle used the term societé about an assemblage of plant individuals of different species.

The notion of biocoenosis: Wallace and Möbius

In 1856, the Park Grass Experiment was established at the Rothamsted Experimental Station to test the effect of fertilizers and manures on hay yields. This is the longest-running field experiment in the world.[5]

These expeditions were joined by many environment. He exposed the existing relationships between observed plant species and climate, and described vegetation zones using latitude and altitude, a discipline now known as geobotany. Von Humboldt was accompanied on his expedition by the botanist Aimé Bonpland.

Throughout the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the great maritime powers such as Britain, Spain, and Portugal launched many world exploratory expeditions to develop maritime commerce with other countries, and to discover new natural resources, as well as to catalog them. At the beginning of the 18th century, about twenty thousand plant species were known, versus forty thousand at the beginning of the 19th century, and about 300,000 today.

The botanical geography and Alexander von Humboldt

Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish naturalist, is well known for his work with taxonomy but his ideas helped to lay the groundwork for modern ecology. He developed a two part naming system for classifying plants and animals. Binomial Nomenclature was used to classify, describe, and name different genera and species. The compiled editions of Systema Naturae developed and popularized the naming system for plants and animals in modern biology. Reid suggests "Linnaeus can fairly be regarded as the originator of systematic and ecological studies in biodiversity," due to his naming and classifying of thousands of plant and animal species. Linnaeus also influenced the foundations of Darwinian evolution, he believed that there could be change in or between different species within fixed genera. Linnaeus was also one of the first naturalists to place men in the same category as primates.[4]

Carl Linnaeus and Systema Naturae

Both views continued their rivalry through the early eighteenth century until Carl Linnaeus’s support of imperialism; and in short time due to Linnaeus’s popularity, imperial ecology became the dominant view within the discipline. [12]

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