In the chapter I discuss the development of ecology in America. Our first ecologist was Stephen A. Forbes, who worked in Illinois. In his wake, “ecology became self-conscious” and the four great early ecological schools—the Nebraska school of plant ecology, the Chicago schools of plant and animal ecology, and the Wisconsin school of limnology—were established. These schools emphasized organisms having interactions with each other and their environments. Later, G. Evelyn Hutchinson would define ecology as interactions having organisms, with the result that ecology frequently became a theoretic academic exercise divorced from societal concerns about conservation and preservation. It would take the environmental movement, with its legislative emphasis on organisms and the funding that followed, to re-establish interest and respect for organismal-based ecology.
Keywords: Stephen A. Forbes, Frederic Edward Clements, John Merle Coulter, Henry Chandler Cowles, Henry Allan Gleason, William Morton Wheeler, Victor Ernest Shelford, Warder Clyde Allee, Edward Asahel Birge, Chauncey Juday
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