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UPE 302, Spring 2004 (JF Reynolds)

THEME: HISTORICAL ECOLOGY

1. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ECOLOGY?

An easy question? Perhaps, but I’ve seen people fall apart during oral exams with such a
straightforward topic. Also, the ‘best’ answer may often depend upon your audience. The other day I
stumbled across the website of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (Millbrook, New York) and noticed
that they dedicate a major portion of their introduction to ‘defining ecology’. This is the file I sent
named ‘defining ecology.pdf’’. Food for thought.

2. HISTORY OF ECOLOGY: ARE YOU “UP TO DATE”?

Following (Hagen 1992), I’ve prepared an abbreviated outline (Outline Ecol History.pdf), which is
more or less is in chronological order and which identifies some key events in ecology that have
shaped where we are today. I’ll briefly run through this in class as a starting point for a discussion on
this topic. Be sure to know where your current advisor received his/her PhD!

Some suggested readings on the history of ecology:

• Allen, T and T. W. Hoekstra, Toward a Unified Ecology (Columbia)


• Bormann F. H. & S. R. Kellert, Ecology, Economics, Ethics: The Broken Circle (Yale)
• Leopold, Aldo - Sand County Almanac (Oxford)
• Merchant, Carolyn, Ecological Revolutions: Nature, Gender, and Science in New England (North
Carolina)
• McIntosh, Robert P. 1985. The background of ecology: concept and theory. Cambridge Univ.
Press, Cambridge
• Blair, W. Frank. 1977. Big biology: The US/IBP. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Stroudsburg, PA.
• Golley, Frank B. 1993. A history of the ecosystem concept in ecology: More than the sum of the
parts. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven.
• Hagen, Joel. 1992. An entangled bank: The origins of ecosystems ecology. Rutgers Univ. Press,
New Brunswick. QH540.8 .H34 1992
• Egerton, Frank (ed), History of American Ecology, New York: Arno 1977

3. CLASSIC PAPERS & THE CURRENT STRUCTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY AT NSF

Today’s attachments. Ecology at NSF has always organized itself along various logical groupings.
These groupings make it easier to classify incoming proposals, allocate funds, prepare new initiatives,
and manage the diversity of queries and challenges in this always rapidly changing field of science.

In the early-to-mid-1990s, five ecological ‘clusters’ were identified:

1. ECOSYSTEMS & PHYSIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY


2. POPULATION & COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
3. ECOLOGICAL INTERACTIONS
4. INTEGRATIVE & THEORETICAL ECOLOGY
5. CROSS-CUTTING AREAS

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UPE 302, Spring 2004 (JF Reynolds)

Compare the above to the current ‘clusters’ (http://www.nsf.gov/bio/deb/debecological.htm):

SYSTEMATIC & POPULATION BIOLOGY ECOLOGICAL STUDIES


• Population Biology • Ecosystem Studies
• Systematic Biology • Ecology
• Biodiversity Surveys & Inventories • Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER)
• Long-Term Research in Environmental
Biology (LTREB)

Quite a difference. Any thoughts?

In the next several pages I’ve summarized some ‘classic’ papers in terms of how they might fall into
one or more of the topical ‘clusters’ from the 90s. Look these over. How might the current cluster
groupings work?

Food for thought.

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Classic Papers, UPE 302, Spring 2004 (JF Reynolds)

ECOSYSTEMS & POPULATION & ECOLOGICAL INTEGRATIVE & CROSS-CUTTING


CITATION PHYSIOLOGICAL COMMUNITY ECOLOGY INTERACTIONS THEORETICAL AREAS
ECOLOGY ECOLOGY

Forbes, Stephen A. 1887. The Ecosystem (=microcosm) Vegetation analysis & Predator-prey interactions Presents qualitative, Terrestrial
lake as a microcosm. Bull. of dynamics plant communities theoretical model of invertebrate
the Peoria Scientific Assoc., 77- Competition among aquatic microcosm ecology
87. Animal physiological Plant competition animals
ecology Terrestrial vertebrate
Plant reproduction ecology Herbivory & plant ecology
defenses (plant-animal
Animal population interactions) Ecology of fishes
ecology
Succession
Animal community
ecology Freshwater ecology

Disturbance ecology

Cowles, Henry C. 1899. The Succession Soil ecology


ecological relations of the
vegetation on the sand dunes of Vegetation analysis & Fire ecology
Lake Michigan. Bot. Gaz. 27: 95- plant communities
117, 167-202, 281-308, 361-91. Conservation ecology
Plant reproduction ecology [suggests ways
develop natural
Pollination ecology barriers to control
dune movements]
Plant demography

Grinnell, Joseph. 1917. The Animal population Herbivory & plant Terrestrial vertebrate
niche-relationships of the ecology defenses (plant-animal ecology
California Thrasher. The Auk 34: interactions) [concluded
427-33. Animal community that range of Thrasher
ecology determined by biotic -
abiotic conditions in
{Animal physiological chaparral assocations]
ecology}

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Classic Papers, UPE 302, Spring 2004 (JF Reynolds)

ECOSYSTEMS & POPULATION & ECOLOGICAL INTEGRATIVE & CROSS-CUTTING


CITATION PHYSIOLOGICAL COMMUNITY ECOLOGY INTERACTIONS THEORETICAL AREAS
ECOLOGY ECOLOGY

Lindeman, Raymond, L. 1942. Ecosystem dynamics Predator-prey interactions Ecosystem dynamics Freshwater ecology
The trophic - dynamic aspect of [ecosystem concept:
ecology. Ecology 23: 399-418. Nutrient cycling Competition among eutrophic stage - Succession
animals equilibrium concept;
hypothetical productivity
Herbivory & plant growth - curve of a
defenses (plant-animal hydrosere]
interactions)
May, Robert M. 1974. Animal population Population & community
Biological populations with ecology modeling (animal and
non-overlapping generations: Population & community plant)
stable points, stable cycles, and modeling (animal and [chaotic models, stable
chaos. Science 186: 645-47. plant) cycles, etc.]

MacArthur, Robert H. and Eric Predator-prey interactions Population & community


R. Pianka. 1966. On optimal modeling (animal and
use of a patchy environment. plant) [optimal forging
American Naturalist 100: 604- models in patchy
609. envirs.]

Hutchinson, G.E. 1959. Vegetation analysis & Predator-prey interactions Population & community Evolutionary ecology
Homage to Santa Rosalia or plant communities [length of food chains] modeling (animal and & population
Why are there so many kinds of Animal community Herbivory & plant plant) [diversity - niche genetics
animals? American Naturalist ecology defenses (plant-animal relns]
93: 145-59. interactions)

Likens, Gene E. et al. 1970. Nutrient cycling Vegetation analysis & Applied ecology &
Effects of forest cutting and Ecosystem dynamics plant communities ecotoxicology
herbicide treatment on nutrient [deforestation Disturbance ecology
budgets in the Hubbard Brook manipulation --
Watershed ecosystem. Ecol. affecting water uptake]
Monog. 40: 23-47.

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These papers just happened to be nearest my desk. Hence, in a similar fashion to the classic citations, I ‘classified’ these as well.

CITATION ECOSYSTEMS STUDIES POPULATION & ECOLOGICAL INTEGRATIVE & CROSS-CUTTING


COMMUNITY ECOLOGY INTERACTIONS THEORETICAL AREAS
ECOLOGY
Lightfoot, D. and W. Whitford. Nutrient dynamics Vegetation analysis & Herbivory & plant Soil ecology
1989. Interplant variation in Plant physiological ecology plant communities defenses (plant-animal
creosotebush foliage - water relations / nutrient Animal community interactions) [study of N
characteristics and canopy relations ecology rich sites and effect of
arthropods. Oecologia 81:166- foliage N on arthropods]
75
Van Cleve, K., F.S. Chapin III, et Ecosystem dynamics Global change
al. 1991. Element cycling in Nutrient dynamics Soil ecology
taiga forests: State - factor Succession
control. BioSci. 41: 78-88. Fire ecology

Reynolds, J.F. and P. Leadley. Plant physiological Ecological modeling Global change
Modeling the response of Arctic ecology --
plants to changing climate. 1992. •C balance & growth
Chap. 20: IN Arctic Ecosystems •Water relations
in a Changing Climate, F.S. •Nutrient relations
Chapin et al. [eds], Academic Ecosystem dynamics
Press, NY.

DeAngelis, D. L. 1980. Energy Ecosystem dynamics Predator-prey interactions Ecological modeling Disturbance ecology
flow, nutrient cycling, and Nutrient dynamics [food webs] [stability analysis]
ecosystem resilience. Ecology
61: 764-71.

Turner, Monica G. and Susan Ecosystem dynamics Animal population Herbivory & plant Ecosystem modeling Landscape ecology
Bratton. 1987. Fire, grazing, Nutrient dynamics ecology [horses] defenses (plant-animal Remote sensing
and the landscape heterogeneity interactions) [Spartina - Disturbance ecology
of a Georgia Barrier island, In: horse interactions] Fire ecology
Landscape Heterogeneity and Succession
Disturbance, M. Turner [ed.], Wetland ecology
Springer.

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4. ESA ANNUAL MEETING INSTRUCTIONS

Typical instructions: “If you're submitting for a Contributed Oral Paper or Poster please select one
of the topic codes listed under Contributed Oral Paper and Poster Topic Codes as your primary
category” However, compuare 1990 to 2004 (http://abstracts.allenpress.com/cgi-
bin/esa/submission.pl?step=1)

1990 2004
Animal behavior & sociobiology Agroecology
Animal community ecology Aquatic Ecology (Streams, Limnology,
Animal physiological ecology Riparian)
Animal population ecology Arctic and Alpine Ecology
Applied ecology & ecotoxicology Avian Ecology
Biogeography Biodiversity
Biological invasions Biogeochemistry
Competition among animals Biogeography
Conservation ecology Disturbance / Fire Ecology
Disturbance ecology Ecological Theory
Ecology of fishes Ecology Education
Ecosystem dynamics Evolutionary Ecology
Ecosystem modeling Fish Ecology
Education Forest Ecology
Evolutionary ecology & population genetics GIS / Remote Sensing
Fire ecology Grassland / Rangeland Ecology
Freshwater ecology Herbivory
Fruit & seed dispersal (plant-animal interactions) Invasive Species
Global change Invertebrate Ecology
Grazing & grassland ecology Landscape Ecology
Herbivory & plant defenses (plant-animal Mammalian Ecology
interactions) Marine / Coastal Ecology
Landscape ecology Modeling
Marine ecology Mutualism / Parasitism
Mutualism between animals, and host - parasite Paleoecology
interactions Populations and Genetics
Nutrient cycling Predator - Prey Ecology
Other Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species
Paleoecology Reptiles and Amphibians
Plant competition Restoration / Reserve Design / Adaptive
Plant demography Management
Plant physiological ecology - C balance & growth Soil Ecology
Plant physiological ecology - other Statistics / Biometrics
Plant physiological ecology - water relations Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Plant physiological ecology -nutrient relations (Ethnoecology)
Plant reproduction ecology Toxicology / Disease
Pollination ecology Trophic Structure
Population & community modeling (animal and Urban Ecology
plant) Other
Predator-prey interactions
Remote sensing
Soil ecology
Statistical ecology
Succession
Terrestrial invertebrate ecology
Terrestrial vertebrate ecology
Vegetation analysis & plant communities
Wetland ecology

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Classification of 1990 categories with 90s NSF clusters
ECO- INTEGRA-
SYSTEMS TIVE &
1990 & POP & THEORET-
ESA ABSTRACT CODES AND TOPICS PHYSIO. COMM ECOLOGICAL ICAL
ECOL. ECOL INTERACTIONS ECOLOGY OTHER
01 Plant physiological ecology - C balance & growth 
02 Plant physiological ecology - water relations 
03 Plant physiological ecology -nutrient relations 
04 Plant physiological ecology - other 
05 Plant reproduction ecology  
06 Pollination ecology  
07 Plant demography  
08 Plant competition  
09 Vegetation analysis & plant communities 
10 Paleoecology   
11 Herbivory & plant defenses (plant-animal  
interactions)
12 Fruit & seed dispersal (plant-animal interactions) 
13 Animal physiological ecology 
14 Animal behavior & sociobiology   
15 Animal population ecology 
16 Predator-prey interactions 
17 Mutualism between animals, and host - parasite  
interactions
18 Competition among animals 
19 Animal community ecology 
20 Terrestrial invertebrate ecology    
21 Ecology of fishes     
22 Terrestrial vertebrate ecology   
23 Population & community modeling (animal and  
plant)
24 Evolutionary ecology & population genetics 
25 Succession   
26 Nutrient cycling  
27 Ecosystem dynamics  
28 Fire ecology 
29 Grazing & grassland ecology    
30 Soil ecology    
31 Ecosystem modeling   
32 Freshwater ecology    
33 Marine ecology    
34 Wetland ecology    
35 Biogeography  
36 Conservation ecology    
37 Landscape ecology  
38 Disturbance ecology    
39 Remote sensing    
40 Applied ecology & ecotoxicology    
41 Education     
42 Statistical ecology   
43 Biological invasions     
44 Global change     
45 Other

TOTALS = 28 31 28 19 7