1965 Report on Future of Ecology

Note: The following is a transcription of this report, which originally appeared in the Bulletin in 1965. Original page numbers are inserted in brackets. Brackets are also used to indicate words whose spelling has been corrected from the original. Please advise us in comments below if you see errors that need to be corrected.

Summary Report of the Ecology Study Committee with Recommendations for the Future of Ecology and the Ecological Society of America
Richard S. Miller and John F. Reed
Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Jun., 1965), pp. 61-82
JSTOR pdf of this report

This project was supported by National Science Foundation Grant 6073 for which support gratitude is expressed.

Submitted to the editor of the BULLETIN for transmittal to the members of the Ecological Society of America 15 April 1965
/s/ JOHN F. REED, Chairman, Ecology Study Committee

   High School Education
   Undergraduate Education
   Graduate Education
   Basic Research
   Ecology Study Committee
APPENDIX I. Reports and Publications


A Provisional Committee on Ecological Policies was established under the Chairmanship of Paul B. Sears in 1957, “in response to a substantial belief on the part of many ecologists that their subject is capable of a much greater service to the intellectual and practical life of mankind than is now being realized”. This committee asked whether ecology in fact aims at truly basic discoveries com parable, say, to the laws of thermodynamics, atomic theory or Mendelism, or whether it is merely a developmental activity. If fundamental principles are involved, is their discovery reasonably assured by specialists in ancillary fields, or will they best be promoted by strengthening ecology as such? If the latter is true, to what extent do personnel, facilities and organizations act as limiting factors? And, finally, what specific recommendations can be made to the Council of the Ecological Society of America, or to some other appropriate body, for consideration and action? Discussion of these questions by the Provisional Committee on Ecological Policies led to the appointment of the Ecology Study Committee in November, 1958 (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 40:8). Its broad purpose was “to review and formulate, so far as possible, the function and status of ecology in science and society.”

The Ecology Study Committee has been supported since its inception by a National Science Foundation Grant (G-6073) and the committee felt that their work should be reviewed and a report prepared, to justify N.S.F. support and to summarize the current status of ecology. In February 1964, President J. F. Reed, Chairman of the Ecology Study Committee, appointed R. S. Miller as a consultant to gather the necessary information and to prepare a report (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 45:42-43).

The accomplishments of the Ecology Study Committee cannot in every case be documented, as they have included not only direct action and reports by the committee and its subcommittees, but also indirect sponsorship of activities by individuals, exercising influence on different issues and with a variety of agencies in the interests of ecology and the Society. An increasingly large number of issues affecting ecology arises each year at times when they cannot be dealt with by Council of the Society as a whole, yet require immediate action of some sort. A committee not restricted in its terms of reference, with a membership of ecologists experienced in the affairs and business of the Society and with established reputations in their special fields, can often provide extremely effective representation of the interests of the Society. This has certainly been the case with the Ecology Study Committee, which has brought the Society many intangible benefits. Reports, publications and symposia which resulted from the activities of the committee are shown in Appendices I and II and will be referred to in appropriate sections of this report.

The following meetings have been held by the Ecology Study Committee, in addition to discussions during the annual meetings with A.I.B.S.: [64]

  • New Haven, Connecticut, November 14 and 15, 1958.
  • Malabar Farm, Ohio, May 12 to 12, 1959.
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan, October 24 and 25, 1959.
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico, January 31 to February 3, 1960.
  • [Tucson], Arizona, November 11 to 13, 1960.
  • Carleton College, Minnesota, May 13 and 14, 1962.
  • Durango, Colorado, March 25 and 26, 1963.
  • Austin, Texas, January 20 and 21, 1964.
  • Washington, D.C., January 23 to 25, 1965.

Each meeting lasted from 2 to 4 days and was usually devoted to a restricted agenda, allowing full discussion of a few topics. Also, by meeting in widely separated geographical areas representing diverse ecological scenes and activities, and by consultation with local ecologists, the committee was able to broaden its base of information, beyond that represented by its membership.

This report is based on the record of the activities of the Ecology Study Committee since 1958, interviews with members of the committee, and interviews with about 85 other ecologists and scientists in related fields in the United States and abroad. It was hoped that visits could be made to all areas of the United States and selected areas abroad where active ecological programs are in progress, but the amount of time available made this ambitious aim an impossible one. Some regions of the U.S., the west coast in particular, have not been visited, partly because priority was given to interviews with members of the Ecology Study Committee and they are located mainly in the mid-western and eastern United States. The report is therefore a digest of the views of ecologists located mostly in geographical areas where members of the Study Committee are located, some interviews in Canada, and a series of interviews with British ecologists.

Funds from N.S.F. Grant G-6073 were used to initiate interviews for this report, and a supplementary grant was requested to pay secretarial costs and to provide travel funds for the author. This request was granted in June, 1964.


In its early deliberations the Provisional Committee on Ecological Policies asked whether ecology aims at truly basic discoveries and is concerned with fundamental principles, or whether it is merely a developmental activity. Ecology is a fascinating, challenging and complex subject which means many things to many people. The Committee’s evaluation of various aspects of ecology is not necessarily the same as the popular opinion, or even that of biologists of other fields. For example, general terms in common use include “descriptive” and “fundamental” ecology. Descriptive ecology extends from the inventory of plants or animals in a particular environment to the sophisticated analysis of the structure of populations and communities, such as those involving the application of information theory and related technique. The popular opinion which disparages “descriptive” ecology knows and understands only the inventory-type of study. Functional ecology includes the analyses of mechanisms and processes controlling energy flow and recycling of elements in populations and communities but, as [65] with any science, depends ultimately upon descriptive analysis to express its results.

During the course of these interviews one frequently heard the criticism that ecology is a descriptive science with no real principles. As one biologist put it, “after the ecologist points out that ‘the dandelion grows in the lawn’, he has little else to say.” This view that descriptive ecology is concerned purely with inventory, and that ecology has not progressed beyond this stage, is still widespread among biologists, whose opinions tend perhaps to be based on their exposure to an inferior course in ecology many years ago. They are almost totally unaware of recent developments, partly because of a traditional reluctance to seek or recognize evidence of new directions in fields outside their own. We can, however, take small comfort in their ignorance, if such it is. The essential fault lies with ecologists, who have been reluctant or unable to meet this challenge.

There is at the same time dissatisfaction among ecologists, who feel that the integrative values of ecological principles are being ignored, that they cannot command the research support that is available to other disciplines, and that environmental biology is inadequately represented at council levels that determine national scientific policy. These complaints, to the extent that they are valid, do not remove the onus from ecologists, who must demonstrate that greater recognition and support are necessary and justified. Valuable comments on the current status of ecology and its possible future are contained in a series of articles in the July, 1964 number of Bioscience. These articles, many of which were sponsored by the Ecology Study Committee (Appendix I), state some of the challenges facing ecology and opportunities which exist to meet them.

High School Education

Ecology in the high schools began to come of age with the widespread acceptance of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study texts. The BSCS “Green Version” is biology in an ecological context and high school students who now use this text may acquire a better understanding of modern ecology than do most college freshman biology students. There is an emphasis on conceptual ecology, field analysis of ecosystems, laboratory experiment and the strengths and weak nesses of scientific inquiry. The success of the BSCS approach depends, however, upon the level of training and preparation of the high school biology teacher, and the responsibility for updating and improving the curricula within which these teachers are trained lies with colleges and universities. The National Science Foundation Institutes for high school biology teachers have made important contributions to the retraining of current teachers, but less progress has been made toward improving the conceptual content of education curricula. In spite of regional improvements in curricula, it is still unreasonable to expect that more than a few high school biology teachers will receive much formal training in ecology and will be able to take full advantage of the “Green Version”, unless ecology is a fundamental part of their introductory biology courses, or they are subsequently able to attend a refresher course at an institute of the sort provided at some N.S.F. Summer Institutes. There is, in other words, a wide gap between the possibilities of the BSCS program for high school students and the ecological backgrounds of most high school teachers.

Undergraduate Education

J. F. Reed writes (Bioscience, 14(7):24) that ecology is a unifying and synthesizing discipline and “a most logical subject to form the core of a general education curriculum for undergraduates in liberal arts colleges”. This and other possible developments in the curricula of liberal arts and agricultural colleges will depend on how rapidly and effectively ecologists move into leadership roles, and whether they are in fact capable of distilling from ecology the unifying principles upon which to build. Many colleges and universities in North America and abroad have introduced drastic revisions in their science curricula, but the “new look” in introductory and general education courses in biology is based mostly on recent discoveries in molecular biology. The reasons are fairly obvious. The simple, brilliant statements of molecular biology capture the imagination and offer a unified theoretical framework for a wide range of biological principles as they apply to certain levels of biological organization. The failure of ecology to participate in this revolution is evident in the content of the new courses and the texts that are written for them. Even the best and most widely used of the new texts tend to include ecology as a separate chapter, more as an afterthought than as an integrative philosophy or set of principles, and most of the material that is presented under this heading is a rather bland digest of the ecology of 30 or 40 years ago. Paul Sears (Bioscience, 14(7): 11-13) observes that there is an inertia on the part of authors and publishers, and that “builders of textbooks” tend to follow an established pattern of including ecology as a chapter rather than as a unifying tradition, thereby perpetuating the practice. This practice is not unique to ecology, or science. Andrew Schiller (Harpers, October, 1964, pp. 82-92) has described the same tendency in the publication of textbooks for teaching English. He finds a basic incompatibility between rigorous analysis and the comfortable old truisms. Authors and publishers compromise the two by trying to design “a tight-cornering racing car which is also a gently moving living room for Aunt Tilly”. This is an apt description of recent general biology texts, in which the term “modern” applies almost exclusively to sections on molecular and developmental biology; but there has been precious little “tight-cornering” in the writing of textbooks at any level of ecology, and we cannot expect recent advances in ecological research and theory to find their way out of the journals and into a literature which is more readily available to non-ecologists and beginning students, unless ecologists themselves are willing to introduce the innovations that are necessary. Moreover, rigorous ecology is unlikely to filter down to the introductory level until there are more departures from the “gently moving living room” in textbooks and teaching at the upper class and graduate level. A few recent texts have been noteworthy for their new dimensions in ecological theory and ideas, but there is still a desperate need for a new approach to ecology at almost every level of education.

E. P. Odum (Bioscience, 14(7): 14-16) points to the shift in emphasis from description or inventory to functional ecology, and the recent acceptance of the levels-of-organization concept as important in bringing together the various divergent roots of ecology. He states that as long as an inventory approach is used, there is little in common between different ecosystems and little exchange of ideas between ecologists in different fields. “Now, however, studies on energetics, nutrient cycling, species diversity, functional niches, ecological regulation, etc., [67] accompanied by improved analytical, mathematical and experimental procedures are bringing out common denominators of function”. Many functional principles, such as those governing the availability and use of energy, are the same at all levels of biological organization but there is a real difference between levels in the interaction of similar functions with differing structures. It is important to recognize that biological regulation or homeostasis is equally important at all levels of organization, from molecules to ecosystems, and that structural differences between the ecosystem and the cell are so great that studies at the molecular or cellular level cannot entirely explain energy fixation, homeostatis, survival, or the evolution of ecosystems. In other words, at the level of populations or ecosystems there are fundamental problems and solutions which are unique, and cannot be solved by research at another level. As Deevey (Bioscience, 14(7):33-35) points out, “Even if the time ever comes when the evolution of a whole organism or species is completely specifiable in terms of amino-acid sequences in proteins, the evolution of ecosystems will remain a problem on a different level of discourse”. Odum therefore feels that the ecosystem is the rallying point for ecologists, and the “new ecology” is a systems ecology (Bioscience, 14(7): 14-16).

An emphasis on the functional principles of population phenomena, community organization and diversity, and ecosystems is becoming increasingly evident in the teaching of ecology, reflecting a trend toward more sophisticated research and analysis, but there are also many inconsistencies and sharp contrasts. Most ecologists and all of the non-ecologists interviewed for this report stressed the importance of experimental research and were somewhat critical of the limited value of ecological inventory. They particularly emphasized the need for carefully designed experiments in natural environments and more refined analysis of population and ecosystem interactions. But this philosophy is by no means universal, and is not widely reflected in the research programs and ecology curricula of different institutions. There is very little evidence of curriculum planning, in the sense of an integrated ecology program, at more than a few institutions. Fields develop according to the research interests of individual staff members. This is of course inevitable and necessary, but there is a noticeable lack of synthesis or integration of course content and virtually no self-criticism with respect to existing practice. When, during these interviews, biologists were asked to describe the ecological content of their curricula, the discussion often switched from “ecology courses” to “ecological courses”, meaning courses which could be described as having a vaguely “ecological point of view”. Ecologists have often failed to realize that a sound program of research and teaching requires the skills and training of specialists in different fields—the notion of the “complete ecologist” is no more acceptable today than that of the “Renaissance man”—and that rigorous training and a sound balance between functional and descriptive ecology are essential to meaningful teaching.

A question arises as to whether we can continue to use the term “ecologist” without some discrimination, and whether a balanced ecology curriculum can be built on one approach to the exclusion of the other. While we are reasonably confident that a healthy feed-back exists between descriptive and functional ecology at the research level on a national or international basis, we have no reason to expect that staff appointments of “ecologists”, without respect to their particular interests and training, will accomplish the same result in any particular institution. [68] In fact, many departments which claim a long list of “ecological courses” and a staff replete with “ecologists” have done little to ensure an integrated balance between functional and inventory ecology. Appointments are too often determined by a supposed need to represent taxonomic slices of the biological cake (e.g. a mammalogist, ornithologist or entomologist) with ecological training and research interest a secondary consideration. Institutions which have failed to distinguish between “an ecological approach” and a more rigorous emphasis on experimental analysis of specifically ecological problems have seldom kept pace with the transition, which W. F. Blair (Bioscience, 14(7): 17-19) refers to as characteristic of integrative fields, from purely descriptive to dynamic and experimental stages.

Graduate Education

In spite of the fact that the exciting potential of a fully integrated and vigorous ecology program has been realized in only a few institutions, there has nevertheless been a general improvement in the quality of graduate training in ecology in recent years. At least three factors have been responsible: (1) graduate students with better training and qualifications, (2) an increase in the number of well trained ecologists on university staffs, and (3) new methods of research and analysis. The biological sciences traditionally served as a refuge for students who found physics, chemistry and mathematics distasteful and were not inclined toward abstract theory. Ecology went one step further and attracted those who discovered that chemistry was also a requirement for research in physiological fields. “Ecology” became, in many ways, a port in the storm for a disproportionate number of people who were disinclined, or otherwise unprepared, to meet the challenges of an experimental science. At the same time potential graduate students with training and talent seldom proceeded beyond an introductory course in biology, when they were offered so little that caught their imaginations or challenged their abilities.

Modern advances in biology, and particularly those in physiology and molecular biology, have revolutionized the climate of training and research and focused attention on biology as an exciting, disciplined science. Ecology has benefited from this revolution in many ways. Ecologists have long known or sensed that the ultimate problems of importance facing mankind are biological, and more specifically environmental. The multitude of ecological problems concerning man’s relationship to natural environments constitute the most significant challenge of the future. It has also become increasingly obvious that the solution of many of these problems demands a high degree of training, vigorous research and a greater sense of the imperative. As Blair notes (Bioscience, 14(7): 17-19) in stating “The Case for Ecology”, the spectacular advances in the last 20 years in the understanding of both living and nonliving matter at the level of molecular biology has tended to close the gap between the physical and biological sciences, “but insofar as the biologist is concerned they have not negated the fact that we live in a world in which protoplasm is organized into individuals, populations, and communities with challenging properties, mechanisms, and principles to be explored at all levels”.

As the integrated sciences such as systematics and ecology have moved gradually toward experimental emphases, they have attracted greater attention to the challenges that lie in these sciences. Graduate students with more sophisticated [69] training and skills than in the past have been stimulated by this challenge. They find in ecology an opportunity for originality in research techniques, in the design of experiments and in analytical procedures that comprises a new scientific horizon. It is also evident that as the demand for disciplined training and creative thinking has become more apparent, the quality of graduate students attracted to ecology has improved.

Much of the credit for the improvements that have occurred in graduate education lies with a few institutions which have become training centres where graduates are trained as ecologists by ecologists, and graduate research is directed toward specific theoretical problems. Special training in experimental and analytical fields has led to a corresponding rise in advanced courses in population ecology, vegetation analysis, radio-ecology, micro-environment, etc., leading to broad theoretical programs which also include intensive study of the problems, techniques and recent developments in particular areas of research. This trend has developed with the rise in university enrollment in the past 20 years, which is partly responsible for a new generation of highly-trained ecologists on university staffs. It has also been accompanied by improved research techniques made possible by the development of new instrumentation especially applicable to research at the levels of biological organization peculiar to ecology. Training grants and foreign exchange of professors have also had a significant influence on the quality and scope of graduate teaching. Rapid developments in many areas of ecology have made it increasingly difficult for individual ecologists, or the limited staff of any single institution, to keep pace and provide a full program of graduate training in all fields of ecology, without the infusion of new ideas and information that exchange professors and training grant programs can provide. It is quite evident, however, that the most significant advances of the future will require even greater proficiency and sophisticated levels of training in chemistry, mathematics, systems analysis, etc., and a carefully planned interdisciplinary approach at all levels of teaching and research.

Basic Research

A society of ecologists represents an extremely diverse range of interests and experience and to some extent lacks the focus and shared needs of a professional society based on a more limited science. There is correspondingly less tendency for an integrative science like ecology to generate a unified theoretical framework without benefit of synthesis of ideas and information. In fact, a continual review of knowledge of ecological events and of research requirements is perhaps more essential to ecology than to any other science. Yet it is also obvious that research fields in any science develop according to the interests and talents of individuals, and cannot be directed along particular lines. A question arises as to what measures a society can take to focus attention on profitable lines of inquiry.

One action of the Ecological Study Committee was to pose the questions: “What are the gaps in ecological knowledge, and in the understanding of ecological processes?” “What are certain profitable ways that ecology might develop in the future?” “Are there new ways of looking at familiar events?” Each committee member prepared a report on one or more topics chosen by him. The report included a general outline of the subject, with literature references; a statement of the major ‘gaps’ in our knowledge of the subject; a list of kinds of research that [70] are needed; and a list of committee members or other members of the society who might undertake a more comprehensive report. The members were also asked how the subject might most profitably be advanced, e.g. by national symposia, international conferences, personal soliciting of interest in special research groups, etc.

The preliminary list of topics to be reported included (1) the effect of physical environment on organisms, including biotronic studies of organisms and the development of techniques for evaluating the role of field conditions on the actual performance of species; (2) micro-environment of populations, as paired with biotronic studies of an organism’s growth, reproduction and behaviour; (3) photo synthesis and energy, with a world survey of net rates of photosynthesis in natural communities, energetics of organisms under various natural conditions, and energy structure in communities; (4) natural history observations of organisms, with investigation of the causes of rarity of certain species; (5) a search for “new and better” experimental organisms for laboratory population studies; (6) study of age-distributions; (7) study of interactions among species, including inter-species competition in natural populations, and the spectrum of the bio-chemical basis of parasitism; (8) the nature, causes and functional significance of organization in communities; (9) natural selection, its initiation, mode of operation, and mechanisms of environmental adaptation; (10) mineral cycling in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; (11) model building, including stochastic models of population phenomena, organization in communities, and optimal yield in various population systems; and (12) human ecology. The need for an inventory of existing experimental field areas and habitat types was also considered.

Preliminary reports on these topics were presented to the Ecology Study Committee and are shown as such in Appendix I. With a member of the committee acting in each case as a liaison member, the following subcommittees were appointed to prepare full reports, and/or organize symposia: (1) Physiological Ecology, (2) Mineral Cycling, (3) Micro-environment, (4) Competition, (5) Energetics, and (6) Natural Selection. Reports and symposia prepared by these sub committees are also shown in Appendices I and II of this report.

As shown in the appendices, some of the reports of the Study Committee and its subcommittees have been published, as have some contributions from symposia sponsored by the committee. Many of the articles in the July, 1964 issue of Bio science were also the result of the work of the committee and its subcommittees and were particularly valuable expressions of the needs and directions of ecology. A number of imaginative and challenging reports were prepared and not published however, and would perhaps serve their purpose if published as reports in the Bulletin.

The committee was, of course, aware that an even wider range of topics than those assigned to its subcommittees should be reviewed, but was limited by time and the number of ecologists available for such assignments. A list of tentative recommendations at the end of this report outlines future needs which have also been considered by the committee and which, in some cases, require further study and report. A synthesis of ideas about other directions and needs in eco logical research and teaching would also be desirable, e.g. ecosystem ecology, including mechanisms of food chains, turnover rates at each trophic level and transfer rates between levels; biogeochemistry on a broad scale (e.g. the adequacy [71] of present information about nitrogen and phosphorous cycles); the behavior of ecosystems over long spans of geological time; the role of environment in evolution; the possibilities of systems analysis and stochastic modelling, perhaps of entire ecosystems.


The question of Society participation in public affairs has been a contentious issue for years. In the mid-1940’s a split was created in the ranks of the Society when a group of ecologists, who felt that the Society should take an official position on certain public issues, formed the Ecologist’s Union, which later became the Nature Conservancy. This was a period when scientists and government were not fully aware of the importance of environmental biology in modern society, or the implications of man’s actions upon his ecosphere, or more generally of the need for full consultation between scientists and government in questions of public policy. Yet, during this period, atomic scientists were shortly to detonate a nuclear device and personally lead an unprecedented move into the arena of public opinion through the forum of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. One may in fact ask whether the opposition of the atomic scientists to the McMahon Bill was any more appropriate than action by ecologists to ensure proper management of human environments.

There are members of the Society who still doubt the wisdom or necessity of becoming involved in controversial issues, but there are clearly areas of public interest which ecologists can no longer avoid, either as individuals or as a Society. As Blair has stated (Bioscience, 14(7): 17-19), “the welfare and future of the human species present compelling demands for answers about the organization of the ecosphere and about man’s interactions with all of its other components.” Knowledge of ecosystem function “is imperative if man is to persist at a desirable level of existence in an environment in which his activities are an increasingly dominant factor.”

Ecologists have a definite obligation to make their views known when they can provide information which might avert environmental disaster, or otherwise be of human benefit. While members of the Society have testified as individuals, ecologists have never collectively brought their influence to bear on the range of environmental problems that are properly within their area of competence. It is the feeling of the Ecology Study Committee that they should and must. It is obvious that if professional ecologists do not take initiative and provide responsible advice and leadership, less qualified and often irrational advice will be forth coming from some other quarter. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring created a tide of opinion which will never again allow professional ecologists to remain comfortably aloof from public responsibility. The importance of this book and its effect on public opinion, national scientific policy, and the status of professional societies with respect to public affairs can hardly be overstated.

Almost without exception, ecologists interviewed for this report were strongly of the opinion that the Society must adopt a positive policy on national issues, but there was less agreement on the extent to which the Society should become involved or the exact mechanisms that should be established for participation in public affairs. We are immediately faced with such problems as environmental pollution, population increase and control, resource development and manage- [72] ment, and acquisition and management of public lands, but there is an even greater challenge to professional ecologists in the subtler principles underlying these questions. How, for example, are mineral and energy budgets and biological diversity affected by resource utilization? To what extent do industrial and agricultural development of specific environments affect homeostatic properties, and what homeostatic mechanisms are, in turn, brought into effect in such situations? As one member put it, “Can we afford to preside over the gradual extinction of biological diversity?” Quite bluntly, profit is a driving force molding the ecosystems of man, but to what extent does a strict profit orientation have ecological survival? Our public responsibilities must be met, in other words, by demonstrating that ecosystem ecology can provide a perspective, stated as ecological forces, which are valuable in the solution of world problems.

A Committee on Public Affairs was appointed in 1963 (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 44:33) and was charged with “the formulation of a context for participation of the Ecological Society in public affairs”. In making appointments to this committee, President Blair stated, “I regard the formation of this committee as probably the most important action during my term of office. Because ecologists have tended to abdicate their responsibilities in matters of public interest, eminent scientists in other specialties but without ecological competence have often been able to speak as authorities on important ecological matters without challenge. We anticipate that the functioning of this committee will materially alter this situation” (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 44:33).

The committee took the following actions upon its appointment (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 45:19):

  1. The chairman of the committee, A. D. Hasler, appeared before a Congressional Committee on Water Resources and Pollution (see Appendix I) and encouraged the Congressional Committee to (a) use ecologists in the planning of future policies on water needs and uses; (b) set aside, by congressional legislation, representative aquatic habitats throughout the country ?some for eco logical experimentation and others to be left untouched as reference sites for the future; (c) formulate more strict regulation of the use of pesticides on land and water, and to use ecologists as consultants in evaluating requests for the use of pesticides.
  2. Requested the President of the Society to write strong letters expressing the views of ecologists on the ecological value in preserving, for posterity: (a) Indiana Sand Dunes, (b) Prairie National Park, and (c) Phosphorescent Bay, Puerto Rico. While members of the Ecology Study Committee and the Society at large agree that there is an obligation toward public affairs, they are cautious in their solutions. Bylaw 18 of the Society’s Constitution prohibits activity which might influence legislation, and has in the past been interpreted quite literally. The Study Committee felt that this bylaw had been interpreted so strictly in fact that the Society was not able to work effectively on ecological problems of national importance (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 45:21-22). Legal opinion, obtained by the Study Committee, indicated that, while the Society cannot lobby in support of specific legislation, or attempt to initiate legislation through the legislative branch of the government, it could, without danger to its tax exempt status, provide information which might affect legislation, if such information was requested by the government or its legislators.

[73]The Ecology Study Committee accordingly recommended to Council “that the Committee on Public Affairs assume the responsibility for providing the names of ecologists, if requested, to appropriate members of any branch of government in order to assure the Government of advice from ecologists who are informed about, interested in, and willing to comment on ecological problems of local, state, national, or international importance” (Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 45:21-22). The Committee on Public Affairs has been guided by the need to bring before the public and its legislators responsible, rather than irresponsible, opinion. There is little doubt that the prestige of ecology and the Society has suffered from non rigorous pronouncements, often provided by responsible scientists who make statements as irresponsible individuals. Laymen tend to accept the statement of a scientist as authoritative, even when the statement is clearly outside his field of competence. Ecological issues seem particularly susceptible to this sort of travesty, which will hopefully lessen when responsible, informed comment is available.

The remaining problem in the role of the Public Affairs Committee is that a “Society judgement” does not, and probably cannot, exist in some instances. Judgements of specific issues will often tend to be those of individuals or groups within the Society. The pesticide question is a possible case in point ?most academic ecologists would probably argue that a maximum of biological diversity is desirable, and that the widespread use of pesticides, and perhaps the agricultural philosophy of a “one-crop economy”, is undesirable. Applied ecologists, and agricultural entomologists in particular, might argue differently. As a Society we can only act, therefore, on specific issues, calling attention to existing problems or to the best available data, and acting with a willingness to advise. It might also be necessary to solicit conflicting views from within the Society but the aim is nevertheless to furnish the best possible data and to contribute to the most responsible, scientific judgement that is possible on any specific issue that is an appropriate responsibility of ecologists and the Ecological Society.

The Council of the Ecological Society of America, on behalf of the Ecology Study Committee, also authorized the Subcommittee on Environmental Pollution to solicit financial support and proceed toward establishing a data center on environmental pollution. The purpose of the center will be to collect pertinent data and organize it for ready retrieval, to analyze and interpret the data, and to report, through the committee on Public Affairs, conclusions on situations where ecological advice is needed. This subcommittee is in the process of preparing reports requested by the Federal Government, but it is clear that this sort of service on a large scale will require that the data be assembled in one place and properly classified. The ultimate aim is to have ecological considerations brought into the planning stages of programs that threaten pollution, rather than seeking ecological advice as an afterthought. The Subcommittee has adopted a “permissive definition of pollution” and has agreed to obtain expert, non-ecological consultants when necessary. Thus, the data center will concern itself with a wide range of possible pollutants, from beryllium released from solid-fuel rockets through smog, pesticides, industrial wastes, detergents, radioactive fallout and even silting from erosion.



The Ecology Study Committee was asked to consider the advisability of ex-[74]tending the scope of the publications of the Ecological Society. The committee discussed this question and asked the editors of the journals for their opinions. There was general agreement that more should be done to encourage theoretical and synthetic papers, but that this policy should be exercised cautiously. This topic was referred to the Publications Committee for further consideration and possible action, and was subsequently included in the interviews for this report.

The most consistent criticism of the publication policy of the Society was that rather a large number of excellent theoretical papers are being published in journals other than Ecology and Ecological Monographs, while the Society journals continue to publish papers which are repetitive of previous research and, in many cases, do not constitute original and significant contributions to ecology. The strongest criticisms were of phyto-sociological inventories. Vegetation surveys and life histories of plants and animals add to the volume of knowledge about particular regions or species, but in many cases this is their only source of originality. They often employ established methods of survey and analysis and reach conclusions that merely confirm the results of previous studies of a similar nature. When there is a sizeable backlog of papers awaiting publication, what order of priority should be given to this type of contribution as compared with functional or theoretical studies which have more general ecological content and importance? It was suggested that such papers should be referred to journals appropriate to their regional or taxonomic appeal. Some ecologists disagreed with this suggestion, arguing that this would discourage membership in the Society and would weaken the broad base upon which the Society is founded. It would be undesirable and perhaps impossible to establish an inflexible policy with respect to the kinds of papers that should be published, or what is to be defined as “ecology”, but the frequency and strength of criticism suggests that a revaluation of editorial policy is needed. Many ecologists stated that Ecology publishes so many papers with only regional or special interest, and so few general papers, that it has little value in their research and teaching. Non-ecologists were especially critical of Ecology, and remarked that the nature and quality of its publications gives a poor impression of what ecology is.

Perhaps the most serious criticism of the Society publications is that many extremely good papers are being lost to other journals. While there is no stated policy against theoretical or synthetic papers, the editors have been cautious about adopting a liberal policy toward this kind of contribution, for fear of unleashing a flood of meaningless statement and controversy. In their understandable caution, they have accepted so few theoretical papers that they have created the impression that there is a negative policy toward papers of this sort. It is much more difficult to judge the worth of an abstract, theoretical paper than one based on accepted methods and routine data. It often becomes necessary to solicit the opinions of several referees, which in turn creates a logistic problem of time, correspondence and personnel. A particularly difficult situation is created when a controversial paper generates counter articles and refutation, but many ecologists feel that as long as the issues are worth discussing they inject vitality into a publication and stimulate thought about concepts that are too often taken for granted.

The Publications Committee recommended some changes in editorial policy and administration at a meeting of Council at the A.I.B.S. meeting in August, 1964, but opinions expressed during these interviews suggest that a thorough [75] review of future policies and directions should be undertaken. Decisions must be made about the scope of the Society publication program, the proper balance between volume and quality of publications, the relative merits and priorities of functional, descriptive, and theoretical and synthetic papers, and the extent to which the Society should encourage broad membership through its publication policies. Members of the Society have questioned whether the aims and publication requirements of the Society can in fact be met with the existing journals. Broadening the scope of publications or exercising greater selectivity in the nature and quality of publications would inevitably create an additional administrative burden. It should be emphasized that the Ecological Society has been fortunate in obtaining outstanding editors who have somehow been able to perform monumental editorial tasks at minimum expense to the Society. Most of the editors have also had the good fortune to find unusually qualified, experienced assistants who have been able to assume some of the redactory and administrative load that would have, otherwise, made the editorship intolerable. The implication of these facts, and the publication subsidy provided by sales of back numbers of the journals, is that members have received editorial services and publication values out of proportion to contributions from their dues. Any significant modification of existing policy with respect to the scope or size of publications will therefore produce a corresponding editorial discrepancy between cost and services, and will undoubtedly require a reappraisal of the existing editorial structure. A minimum need, however, is clearly stated policy of acceptability and priority of publications which will serve as a guide to editors and contributors, and a positive attempt to encourage ecologists to submit quality papers to Ecology and Ecological Monographs.

Ecologists repeatedly stressed the need for review articles summarizing research and theoretical developments in their particular fields. Ecological research and information is so widely dispersed and includes so many different facets that overt synthesis and integration are essential. Review articles also have considerable pedagogical value. The reports and symposia sponsored by the Ecology Study Committee through its subcommittees have had an important review function, but the value of some of these reports would be enhanced if they were expanded and published as reviews.

In spite of suggestions that Ecological Monographs or the Bulletin might serve as publication outlets for reviews, and in spite of the obvious demand for review articles, editors of existing review journals do not feel that new outlets are necessary or that there is a shortage of space for meritorious papers. The problem is therefore not one of adequate publication outlets, but that few review articles are being written. If the Society journals were to publish reviews, as has been suggested, it would probably be necessary for the editors, or perhaps a group like the Ecology Study Committee, to actively solicit reviews on particular subjects from qualified ecologists. In terms of the needs of ecology and increasing interest in the Society journals, this suggestion may have merit. Many ecologists expressed the desire for a review journal devoted exclusively to ecological articles, and felt this would be a logical function of the Society publication program. Advances in Ecological Research is regarded as a potentially valuable publication in this respect.

Publishers anticipate an excellent market for books on particular aspects of [76] ecology, especially in view of the increased number of specialized courses that are being offered. Books such as Slobodkin’s Growth and Regulation of Animal Populations, in which selected topics are treated in depth and with considerable imagination, or collections of scientific articles as in Hazen’s Readings in Population and Community Ecology, have been favorably received by ecologists who find this type of publication extremely valuable in advanced teaching. Many other areas of ecology could be profitably treated with specialized books, possibly alleviating the need for review articles, but publishers state that this demand is not being met to the extent that it could be.

Ecology Study Committee

The Ecology Study Committee originally consisted of six members, with the Director of the N.S.F. Environmental Biology Program and the President-elect as ex-officio members. In subsequent years the committee has more than doubled in size but no one was officially retired from the committee until 1964. The customary manner of appointment led to a committee composed mainly of former officers of the Society, most of whom were also active in other societies and other wise subject to rather a large number of professional obligations. Many of those who served on the committee for several years, and particularly those who had served since 1958, expressed the view that their continued tenure was a burden to them and possibly a disservice to the Society. They felt that their principal contributions were made in the first few years of their appointments. Moreover, while the experienced advice of former officers of the Society is invaluable to new officers and has proven a useful aid to continuity in Society affairs, it tends to neglect contributions that might be made by younger ecologists and may discourage their early participation in the affairs and business of the Society. At its Austin meeting on January 20-21, 1964, the Ecology Study Committee was reconstituted as follows: The President of the Society, the Immediate Past-President, the President-Elect, the Secretary, 1 oceanographer, 1 limnologist, 2 animal ecologists, 2 plant ecologists, and the Director of the N.S.F. Environmental Biology Program (ex-officio). The Chairman of the committee is appointed annually by the President.

The funds from N.S.F. Grant G-6073 have paid the costs of travel of the committee members to 8 meetings in 6 years and have provided modest support for the work of the subcommittees. Experience has shown that the business of the Society, which is conducted annually at the A.I.B.S. meetings, requires virtually all the time that is available, and many members of the Ecology Study Committee are inevitably involved with meetings of the Executive Committee and Council and the Society. It is therefore necessary to schedule the meetings of the Ecology Study Committee at some other time and place. While most of the members find it difficult to attend meetings during the academic year, they also agree that the committee would be more effective if it could meet more often. Each meeting of the committee has occupied a minimum of two days, during which a few selected topics have been discussed in depth, without the ordinary restrictions of Society business and the schedule of other meetings. These discussions have generated considerable enthusiasm and have been extremely fruitful, but they occur too infrequently for the enthusiasm to be sustained from one meeting to the next and the most effective results to be realized. It is clear that the committee could oper-[77]ate more effectively if it could meet more frequently, but this would require funds in excess of those currently provided.

At its meeting in Washington, D.C. in January 1965 the committee reviewed an interim report of its past accomplishments and gave careful consideration to the need for such a committee in future activities of the Society. The Washington meeting provided a convincing demonstration of increasing awareness among other agencies of the importance of environmental biology and the value to the Society of a committee able to respond quickly to requests for advice and information. The Ecology Study Committee, in addition to its own meeting, com plied with requests to participate in a panel discussion with representatives of the Smithsonian Institution, to explore interrelationships between ecology and systematics, and ways in which the museum might increase its contributions to biology through such programs as studies of the environmental factors shaping the characteristics of species; to meet with Dr. Karl Wilbur of the Weather Modification Committee of the National Science Foundation, and to accept responsibility as an advisory group to establish a working panel on the ecological effects of weather modification; and to meet with Mr. John Calhoun, Science Advisor to Secretary Udall, to discuss a Department of Interior proposal for a “Program of Ecological Research and Survey.” These meetings showed that a group such as the Ecology Study Committee can make valuable contributions to the programs of agencies concerned with environmental relationships; that the tempo and depth of interest in ecological problems is increasing at a phenomenal pace; and that it is in the interests of the Society, as well as the agencies concerned, to be able to respond effectively to their requests for cooperation in the formulation and development of ecology programs.

The committee accordingly approved a motion at its Washington meeting to recommend to Council (1) the continuation of the activities of the Ecology Study Committee, (2) that a proposal for its further support be submitted to the National Science Foundation, and (3) that the budget request of the new committee include sufficient funds to allow the Committee to meet four times a year.


The following tentative recommendations are based on the Study Committee’s “Interim Report” submitted December 18, 1964 and subsequent discussions of the report at the Study Committee meeting January 23-25, 1965:

  1. Greater emphasis on modern ecological principles is needed in high school and undergraduate biology courses, especially the latter. Leading college texts have been quick to upgrade material at the molecular level but have failed to do the same at the ecological level. Suggested solutions: (1) encourage qualified ecologists to take more active part in preparation of elementary texts, or (2) establish a “writing committee” as was successful in upgrading ecology in high school biology texts.
  2. The quality of graduate work and training should be increased and more universities should develop strong coordinated programs, i.e., interdisciplinary programs between botany, zoology, microbiology, and applied biological disciplines (forestry, agriculture, conservation, etc.). Very few universities now have such graduate programs. Many universities with the highest overall academic ratings have practically no graduate work in ecology, even though such schools [78] have outstanding individual ecologists on their staffs. Suggested solutions: (1) en courage heads of biological science divisions to get individuals in different departments to work together in graduate training, (2) increase the number of special training grants for interdepartmental programs (see item 6b below) and (3) develop special interdepartmental facilities as described in 3 below.
  3. Large scale permanent year around experimental facilities for ecology are a critical need for the future. These should include both laboratory and field facilities for experimental work with entire ecosystems as well as for populations and individual organisms through their entire life cycles. Such facilities are expensive and require large scale government support and, in some cases at least, the co operation of several institutions is desirable. Since large scale expensive facilities for applied ecology (for example, water pollution laboratories or forestry research laboratories) are now being supported in large numbers by the Federal Government, it is imperative that equally adequate facilities for basic ecological research be similarly supported to avoid an imbalance between basic and applied research that is in danger of developing when basic principles underlying the applications are imperfectably known. Such imbalance in any field leads to a tragic waste of money as trial and error procedures predominate, and expensive equipment and buildings are assembled to be manned by inadequately trained personnel.

    The few large experimental facilities for basic ecological research existing at present are associated with a very few universities and with several of the Atomic Energy Commission installations. Three types of facility now operating that might serve as models of arrangements which would be feasible in the near future are: (1) a facility completely administered and supported by a government agency; (2) a facility organized and operated by a single University, with all senior research personnel being university faculty members, but with financial support from Government agencies and/or industrial contractors, as well as by the university itself; and (3) a facility operated by a group of universities. While there are many advantages to each arrangement, a strong association between facilities and universities is highly desirable to insure freedom of research and to promote training at both the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels, where such training is now inadequate (see item 2).

  4. Field stations devoted to a broad spectrum of biological study (not to be confused with the specialized environmental research facilities discussed in paragraph 3) need to be increased in number in some geographical regions and especially in quality. The field station provides one of the most effective devices for stimulating interest among students in environmental problems. There should be major teaching and research field stations in each major ecological region or “biome” such as tundra, northern coniferous forest, temperate deciduous forest, tropical forest, temperate grassland, tropical grassland, chaparral, montane, freshwater and marine situation, etc. Many such stations should operate the year around, not just in the summer.

    At present, the number of marine stations along the U.S. coast is adequate but many stations are inadequately staffed and badly need financial support. Terrestrial and freshwater stations are far too few in number, and too many of the few which now exist operate only in the summer, and are inadequately staffed or equipped or both.

    It is especially recommended that field stations seek funds for immediate purchase [79] or lease of large areas of land and waters surrounding the field station adequate of long range field research. Otherwise, stations will find themselves without any environment to study as a result of population pressure or pollution, as has happened with many other laboratories such as the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole where either lack of funds or lack of vision prevented acquiring such field areas when it was possible to do so.

    Furthermore, it is recommended that foundations give serious consideration to proposals submitted by well staffed field stations and ecological institutes for regional inventories, which include functional as well as descriptive and taxonomic measurements and which consider the “biological basis for human welfare” as emphasized in the proposed International Biological Program (IBP).

  5. Theoretical research in ecology should be increased in the future and more theoretical papers should be solicited and published in ecological journals. At present, many theoretical papers of great importance to ecologists are published in non-ecology journals, partly due to a mistaken widespread impression that Ecology and Ecological Monographs consider only “data” papers, and partly due to lack of space in these existing journals. While one hesitates to suggest increasing the number of biological journals, there is no question that the field of ecology is not represented by a reasonable share of journals in the USA.
  6. Since manpower is perhaps the most critical shortage in the ecological area the following recommendations are considered especially important.
    • a. An immediate inventory of existing manpower in ecology, and a forecast of manpower available four years hence is essential. The existing Scientific Rosters are not adequate of such inventories because (1) many persons who list themselves as ecologists are, in reality, primarily interested in taxonomy, evolution or other areas, and (2) many scientists (for example, soil scientists or entomologists) who are doing important work in ecology do not always list themselves as ecologists.
    • b. An increasing number of training type grants for coordinated ecology programs (see item 2 above) should be strongly recommended to NSF, NIH and other granting agencies.
    • c. The number of senior fellowships should likewise be increased to enable ecologists who lack experience with recent technics and ideas (as for example radioisotope procedures or ecosystem theory) to spend sabbaticals, etc, at centers where modern experimental facilities are developed (see item 3 above).
    • d. Financial support for a series of “in depth” symposia and special “institutes” (patterned after the summer training institutes which have done much to upgrade many fields of biology) should be sought so that much needed exchange of ideas can be facilitated. Such symposia and institutes should deal with both basic and applied aspects in balance as suggested by the following titles: “systems ecology”, “population biology”, “environmental biology for civil engineers”, “environmental biology for urban planners”, etc.
    • e. The National Academy of Science should be encouraged to develop some kind of effective interagency environmental committee in Washington to aid in the coordination of the many environmental science groups. At present there is much duplication of effort by these groups and all too frequently an unintentional development of contradictory policies.
  7. It is recommended that the establishment of a national center for environmental sciences be seriously considered. At the minimum this would consist of a permanent national headquarter for the Society (and other groups that might wish to take part) with data processing and data storage facilities. At the maximum such a center might also develop research programs not competitive with universities, serve as an “idea factory” and provide a stimulating intellectual environment of investigators and teachers on sabbatical. In any event, such a center requires very careful planning and would require support at the multi-million dollar level. At its meeting in Washington, D. C. in January, the Ecology Study Committee agreed in principle that such an institute should be established, and appointed a committee to undertake a preliminary feasibility study and report to the Society at its August, 1965 meeting.

[80] APPENDIX I Reports and Publications

  • Blair, W. F. 1964. The case for ecology. Bioscience, 14(7): 17-19.
  • Blair, W. F. In Press. An ecological context for the effects of chemical stress on population structure. Bull. Ent. Soc. Amer.
  • Bonner, J. Unpublished. The role of controlled environment facilities in plant science research. Report of Subcommittee on Physiological Ecology. 14 pp. mimeo.
  • Bonner, J. Unpublished. Cycling of elements in nature. Report of Subcommittee on Ecological Biotronics. 5 pp. mimeo.
  • Bonner, J. Unpublished. Considerations of photosynethetic yield. Report of Subcommittee on Physiological Ecology. 55 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. 1960. Some principles of general ecology and human society. Amer. Biol. Teacher, 22:160-164. Presidential Address to Ecological Society of America, Pennsylvania State College, September, 1959.
  • Cain, S. A. 1961. Conservation: The developing ecological science of resource management. Industrial Medicine and Surgery, 30:363 (abstract) Presented at Second National Congress on Environmental Health, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, 18 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. 1962. Problems of basic resource development and use in an economy of rapid change. In, Current Topics and Issues in Rapid Economic Change, pp. 123-163. New York.
  • Cain, S. A. In Press. Our resources, our people: The problem. Presented at California Conservation Conference, Pasadena, 1963. 12 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. Unpublished. Some principles of general ecology and human society. Presidential address to the Ecological Society of America, Pennsylvania State College, September, 1959. 8 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. Unpublished. General Ecology, human ecology and conservation. Report of Subcommittee on Human Ecology. 81 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. Unpublished. What is human ecology? Report of Subcommittee on Human Ecology. 11 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. Unpublished. Strength and weakness of the ecological approach to conservation. Presented at IX Internat. Bot. Congr., Montreal, August, 1959. 12 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. Unpublished. Ecology in the service of man. Presented to Society of Botany, Argentian, Tucuman, 1960. 14 pp. mimeo.
  • [81] Cain, S. A. Unpublished. Natural resource ecology: A syllabus. School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 150 pp. mimeo.
  • Cain, S. A. Unpublished. General and human ecosystems. Presented at Symposium and Applications of the Principles of Biology to Human Welfare, General Assembly, International Union of Biological Sciences, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1964. 12 pp. mimeo.
  • Clarke, G. L. Unpublished. Trophic dynamics. Report of Subcommittee on Energetics. 4 pp. mimeo.
  • Clarke, G. L. Unpublished. Mineral cycling in ecosystems. Report of Subcommittee on Mineral Cycling. 5 pp. mimeo.
  • Cole, L. C. 1963. Pesticides — a hazard to nature’s equilibrium. Amer. Jour. Publ. Health, 54:23-31. Report of the Subcommittee on Environmental Pollution.
  • Cole, L. C. 1964. The impending emergence of ecological thought. Bioscience, 14(7):30-32.
  • Cottam, C. Unpublished. The ecologists’ role in problems of pesticide pollution. Report of the Subcommittee on Environmental Pollution. Presented at A.I.B.S. Meeting, Boulder, Colorado, August 27, 1964. 16 pp. mimeo.
  • Dawson, W. R. Unpublished. Contributions of animal physiology to ecology. Report of the Subcommittee on Physiological Ecology, 22 pp. mimeo.
  • Hasler, A. D. Unpublished. Ecology and animal behaviour. Report to Ecology Study Committee. 6 pp. mimeo.
  • Hasler, A. D. 1963. Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations. House of Representatives. 88th Congress. First Session. Water Pollution Control and Abatement. Part IA. National Survey, pp. 757 786.
  • Hasler, A. D. 1964. Experimental limnology. Bioscience, 14(7):36-38.
  • MacArthur, Robert H., Richard C. Lewontin and Gordon H. Orians. Unpublished. Natural Selection and the Development of Ecology. Report of the Subcommittee on Natural Selection. 28 pp. typed.
  • Odum, E. P. 1964. The new ecology. Bioscience, 14(7): 14-16.
  • Olmsted, C. E. Unpublished. Problems in the study of physiological ecology and genecology. Report of the Subcommittee on Physiological Ecology. 3 pp. mimeo.
  • Olson, J. S., V. T. Bowen, J. E. Cantlon and J. J. Davis. Unpublished. Chemical cycles in ecological systems. Report of the Subcommittee on Mineral Cycling. 17 pp. mimeo.
  • Park, T. 1961. An ecologist’s view. Presidential address to the Ecological Society of America. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 42:4-10.
  • Platt, R. B., J. R. Tester and R. E. Shanks. Unpublished. What is micro-environ ment? Report of the Subcommittee on Micro-environment. 16 pp. mimeo.
  • Platt, R. B., W. D. Billings, D. M. Gates, C. E. Olmsted, R. E. Shanks and J. R.
    Tester. 1964. The importance of environment to life. Bioscience, 14(7):25-29.

  • Reed, J. F. 1964. Ecology in higher education. Bioscience, 14(7):24.
  • Reed, J. F. 1964. Annual Report of the Ecology Study Committee. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 45:21-22.
  • Sears, P. B. 1959. Annual Report of the Ecology Study Committee, Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 40:8.
  • Sears, P. B. 1960. Annual Report of the Ecology Study Committee. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 41:32-33.
  • [82] Sears, P. B. 1962. Annual Report of the Ecology Study Committee. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 43:47.
  • Sears, P. B. 1962. Where There is Life. Dell Publishing Co. Inc., New York, 224 pp.
  • Sears, P. B. Unpublished. An ecologist’s point of view. Report to Ecology Study Committee.
  • Sears, P. B. and J. E. Cantlon. 1963. Annual Report of the Ecology Study Committee. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 44:20.
  • Sears, P. B. Unpublished. Paleoecology. Report to Ecology Study Committee. 3 pp. mimeo.


  • “Interactions in Nature.” Co-sponsored with the American Society of Naturalists and American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. A.A.A.S. Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, December 26-31, 1959.
  • “Energy Flow in Ecosystems: Theory, Methods and Data.” Co-sponsored with the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. University Park, Pennsylvania, August, 1959.
  • “Ecology and Anthropology.” A.A.A.S. Meeting, New York, N. Y., December 26-31, 1960.
  • “Weather and Organisms.” Co-sponsored with the American Society of Plant Physiologists. A.I.B.S. Meeting, Purdue, Indiana, August 27-31, 1961.
  • “Population and Community Ecology.” A.I.B.S. Meeting, Purdue, Indiana, August 27-31, 1961.
  • “Cycles of Biologically Important Elements in Ecological Systems.” Co-sponsored with the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and American Fisheries Society. A.I.B.S. Meeting, Purdue, Indiana, August 27 31, 1961.
  • “Cycling and Levels of Nuclides in Terrestrial Environments.” First National Radioecology Symposium. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, September, 1961.
  • “Sampling and Analysis of Natural Populations.” A.I.B.S. Meeting, Corvallis, Oregon, August 26-30, 1962.

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