Eugene Odum

Ecosystem Ecologist and Environmentalist

Title Details

Illustrations: 14 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 05/22/2002

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2473-9

List Price: $26.95

Eugene Odum

Ecosystem Ecologist and Environmentalist

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Students of nature around the world revere Eugene Odum as a founder and pioneer of ecosystem ecology. In this biography of Odum, Betty Jean Craige depicts the intellectual growth, creativity, and vision of the scientist who made the ecosystem concept central to his discipline and translated the principles of ecosystem ecology into lessons in preserving the natural environment.

Placing Odum's achievements in historical context, Craige traces his life from his childhood through his education, his collaboration with his brother Howard T. Odum in developing methods to study ecosystems, his contributions to the field of radiation ecology, his emergence as an internationally distinguished educator of ecosystem ecology, and his environmental activism. Craige also describes Odum's role in the creation of the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, and the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia, where he became identified with the statement "The ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts."

Odum's textbook Fundamentals of Ecology is a classic, published in numerous editions and translations worldwide. Odum achieved membership in the National Academy of Sciences, shared with his brother the prestigious Crafoord Prize for Ecology, accepted six honorary doctorates, and received numerous awards for environmental activities.

Deftly chronicles Odum's life as a teacher, theorist, and activist, neatly setting in scientific and social contexts both his paradigm-altering vision of nature and his struggle to change the public's perception of Earth from 'supply depot' to home.


A captivating biography of one of the most influential ecologists of the twentieth century . . . An enjoyable book for both the professional interested in the history of modern ecology and the layperson interested in the impact Odum's vision of ecology has had on environmentalism.


This book does not disappoint. . . . A lively, readable celebration of a fascinating, influential scientist, fortunate to live during a time of great change in science and politics . . . Captures the excitement involved in seeking a new way of making sense of nature, in the salt marshes off Georgia, or on the Eniwetok Atoll; as well as something of the passion with which a scientist sure of his facts engages in controversy.

Journal of the History of Biology

Craige has placed the life of the individual in the historical context of his times. In turn, she has subscribed to Odum's philosophy-in biographical form-that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For any one looking for a very readable glimpse into the life of one of the founders of the popular environmental movement and a quality introduction to his work, Craige's book is just that.

Environment and History

An admirable story of the contributions of a remarkable individual . . . Clearly traces the changes in the field of ecology during Odum's sixty years of teaching and writing.

Professional Geographer

Vividly portrays the influence of Odum's early family life, his introduction to the natural world, and his academic surroundings on his intellectual growth and creativity.

Southeastern Naturalist

About the Author/Editor

BETTY JEAN CRAIGE was the University Professor of Comparative Literature and director of the Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia. She is the author of several books on the subject of holism, including Reconnection: Dualism to Holism in Literary Study, Laying the Ladder Down: The Emergence of Cultural Holism, and American Patriotism in a Global Society.