In Memorium

Network News Fall 2002, Vol. 15 No. 2
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The field of ecology lost two of its leaders recently when Eugene Odum, 88, and his brother Howard, 78, passed away within a month of each other. Eugene Odum was a former University of Georgia professor and first director of that institution’s Institute of Ecology. He was responsible for the development of the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island and played a key role in founding the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Howard Odum was a professor emeritus at the University of Florida and founder of the Center for Wetlands and the Center for Environmental Policy. Between them, Eugene and Howard Odum published nearly 30 books and hundreds of journal articles and had a profound influence on the development of the fields of ecosystem ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, and ecological engineering.

The LTER community owes a great debt to Eugene and Howard Odum. Eugene’s leadership of the Institute of Ecology and the Marine Institute had a strong influence on the Coweeta and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems sites. Research at the Luquillo and Florida Coastal Everglades sites draws heavily on the pioneering work of Howard Odum. Equally as important was their effect on generations of ecologists, including many LTER researchers.

In 1970, Eugene Odum became the first member of the University of Georgia faculty to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 1975, the two brothers were awarded the Institute de la Vie prize for ecology from the French government. In 1987, the Royal Swedish Academy awarded them the Crafoord Prize, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in ecological sciences. The Odums established a foundation to promote research and education in ecology with the prize money.

Their innovative ideas blazed trails that many of us still follow. As colleagues, mentors, or tutors, the Odums had a profound personal effect on the careers of many ecologists. We will miss them.