Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chaney, Ralph Works (United States 1890-1971)
||Chaney's University of California: In Memoriam
obituary notes that his "most significant contribution to paleobotany
was to consider fossil plants as members of forest associations and not
as isolated morphologic entities. Thus he was the first to adopt an ecological
approach to the description and analysis of Tertiary floras in western
North America, and to apply it over a much larger geographic area adjacent
to the Pacific basin. His quantitative studies of the relationships between
the accumulations of recent leaves in stream pools and the surrounding
vegetation provided a technique whereby objective inferences concerning
past vegetation could be derived from the statistical analysis of leaves
and other organs in fossil floras." Chaney's approach required the sifting
of large amounts of data, and he traveled widely--both within Western
America, and to Central and South America, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, and
China. Among Chaney's innovations was his depiction of the "geoflora,"
a large scale dispersal of forms in time and space (for example, in response
to permanent climatic shifts). One odd outcome of his work on paleofaunas
and systematics was his interest in the Chinese redwood genus Metasequoia,
and by extension Californian forms: late in life he became a leading advocate
for their conservation.|
--born in Brainerd, Illinois, on 24 August 1890.
--1912: B.S. in geology, University of Chicago
--1914-1917: teaches science at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago
--1917-1922: teaches geology at the University of Iowa
--1919: Ph.D. in geology, University of Chicago
--1922: made research associate at the Carnegie Institution of Washington
--1925: accompanies Roy Chapman Andrews' paleontological expedition to
the Gobi Desert, Mongolia
--1931: named professor of paleobotany and chair of the paleontology department
at the University of California, Berkeley
--1939: president, Paleontological Society of America
--1940: vice-president, Geological Society of America
--1943-1945: assistant director, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory
--1943-1954: serves on the National Park Service's Advisory Board
--1944: honorary D.Sc., University of Oregon
--1947: elected to the National Academy of Sciences
--1947: publishes "Tertiary
Centers and Migration Routes" in Ecological Monographs
--1957: retires from the Carnegie Institution
--1961-1971: president, Save-the-Redwoods League
--1969: honorary vice-president, Eleventh International Botanical Congress
--1970: receives the Paleontological Society Medal
--dies at Berkeley, California, on 3 March 1971.
--Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences
(U.S.A.), Vol. 55 (1985).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography,
Vol. 17 (1990).
of California: In Memoriam, 1974. [website]
--Year Book of the American Philosophical
Society for 1971 (1972): 115-120.
--Geological Society of America Memorials,
Vol. 3 (1974): 60-68.
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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