Dr. Monica G.Turner
Department of Integrative Biology
University of Wisconsin
430 Lincoln Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
Ecosystem and
Landscape Ecology Lab

Eugene P. Odum

Eugene Pleasant Odum (1913-2002) was one of the most influential scientists in 20th century ecology and is frequently called “the father of modern ecology.” Odum pioneered ecosystem ecology as a new integrative study of whole systems, developing his ideas through studies of diverse systems ranging from salt marshes to forests, from old fields to lakes. He was a strikingly synthetic thinker who sought general principles governing the structure and dynamics of ecological systems. His pathbreaking book, Fundamentals of Ecology, was first published in 1953 and influenced an entire generation of ecologists; for ten years, it was the only text in the field. Odum also advanced the notion that the goods and services of both humans and nature are inextricably coupled, and he maintained a strong commitment to public outreach throughout his career. Odum joined the faculty at the University of Georgia in 1940, retiring from UGA in 1984. His vision was instrumental in founding the Institute of Ecology, where Professor Turner conducted her graduate studies. Turner was introduced to ecology as an undergraduate through the 3rd edition of Odum’s text, and he served on her Ph.D. advisory committee and as her postdoctoral advisor (1985-87). Odum was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1970, received the Tyler Ecology Award in 1977, and the Craaford Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1987.