Communities, Places, and American Ecology: Case Studies
Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
101A, Minneapolis Convention Center
Dennis H. Knight
Intellectual communities are an important force in the development of ecological ideas. Few scientists work in isolation, and contributions from colleagues are often vital in shaping new ideas and research programs. Universities, field stations, cities, and scientific societies have all served to spark creativity in ecologists and move ideas forward. In addition, serendipitous synergies happen when people from different “places” (whether geographic, discipline-based, or hierarchical) cross paths. This session will focus on case studies that implicate communities and places in the development of ecological ideas. Speakers will discuss places as both fertile grounds for intellectual exchange and as integral players in long-term ecological studies. We examine the communities that flourished in Chicago and St. Louis around the time that the Ecological Society of America formed; the role of a female ecologist in an intellectual community at the Academy of Natural Sciences; the importance of the literal geographical place where fundamental questions are answered through long-term research; and how online forums act as a place for intellectual communities. Characteristics of the Ecological Society of America and its members are addressed explicitly in several presentations, but all speakers consider the history of ESA and the development of American ecology as the Society prepares for its 2015 Centennial.