Big Ecology

Big Ecology: The Emergence of Ecosystem Science

David C. Coleman
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppn52
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Big Ecology
    Book Description:

    InBig Ecology, David C. Coleman documents his historically fruitful ecological collaborations in the early years of studying large ecosystems in the United States. As Coleman explains, the concept of the ecosystem-a local biological community and its interactions with its environment-has given rise to many institutions and research programs, like the National Science Foundation's program for Long Term Ecological Research. Coleman's insider account of this important and fascinating trend toward big science takes us from the paradigm of collaborative interdisciplinary research, starting with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957, through the International Biological Program (IBP) of the late 1960s and early 1970s, to the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs of the 1980s.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94573-9
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Intellectual Antecedents to Large-Scale Ecosystem Studies
    (pp. 1-14)

    International scientific collaborations have a long and illustrious history that extends back into the nineteenth century. Biological programs lagged the programs in physics and astronomy until the advent of the International Biological Program (IBP) in the middle of the twentieth century. As a result of the IBP and the recognition of biology as the basis of ecological science, all the later efforts to build a “big ecology” begin with this program. Prior to IBP, a nearly ideal example for biologists was that of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), which had a beneficial impact far in excess of the immediate research...

  6. CHAPTER TWO How the International Biological Program Swept the Scientific World
    (pp. 15-88)

    The International Biological Program (IBP) was the largest, most successful scientific program of its kind in the 1970s. This success is measured by the number of graduate students and postdoctorals who went on to lead numerous large research groups around the world. Its legacy is still felt literally four decades later. The IBP had its early beginnings in Great Britain and Europe, with the United States lagging far behind (Worthington, 1975). As noted in Chapter 1, this lack of interest was in marked contrast to previous experience with the International Geophysical Year during 1957–1958, in which the United States...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Origin and Evolution of the Long-Term Ecological Research Program
    (pp. 89-144)

    The IBP served to consolidate ecosystem ecology, resulting in a permanent increase in funding support for the field. By pioneering in the use of computer modeling in ecology, IBP led to the creation of numerous smaller-scale models of ecological systems, and trained a generation of ecological researchers. “If you now look at a lot of the leadership in American ecology today, these folks cut their teeth on IBP” (W. Frank Harris, pers. comm.).

    The LTER arose from the IBP, but it was established as part of a gradually evolving network (Hobbie et al., 2003). Using an ecological metaphor, the IBP...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Future of Big Ecology: IGBP, AmeriFlux, NEON, and Other Major Initiatives
    (pp. 145-184)

    This chapter presents an overview of the activities of various groups and networks conducting ecosystem studies. Some have had an extensive history, and others, such as the NEON program, were in their final establishment stages during 2009. This overview is followed by a discussion of current major initiatives in ecosystem science, including studies of ecosystem services and experimental studies of global change phenomena.

    In 1987 the International Council for Science (ICSU) initiated the International Geosphere–Biosphere Program (IGBP). This program was a logical outgrowth of the successful completion of the IGY (see Chapter 1), and the IBP (see Chapter 2)....

  9. REFERENCES
    (pp. 185-214)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 215-236)