Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Cowles, Henry Chandler (United States
Henry Cowles was strongly influenced as a graduate
student by the writings of Eugenius Warming (especially his ground-breaking
book Plantesamfund) and by the Chicago school of physical geography
as espoused by workers such as Rollin Salisbury and Thomas Chamberlin.
Cowles worked on the ecology of the Indiana Dunes for his dissertation
project, and what emerged was the theory of ecological succession. This
concept of directional change in the composition of community structure
over short to medium length periods of time proved an irresistible unifying
concept for plant ecology, and dominated thinking within the field for
much of the first half of the twentieth century. Cowles published his
dissertation in Botanical Gazette in 1899, then followed it up
with a related analysis just two years later--but wrote very little further
on the subject. The initial impact of the model was strong enough to permanently
sustain his reputation, however, and over the next thirty years plus Cowles's
became the central professional influence within the field of ecology
(both through his efforts as a teacher/advisor, and as an advocate for
professional ecological studies).
--born in Kensington, Connecticut, on 27 February
--1893: A.B., Oberlin College
--1894-1895: teaches natural science at Gates College, Nebraska
--1895: begins graduate studies in geology at the University of Chicago
--1897: begins his studies on the Indiana Dunes
--1898: Ph.D. in botany, University of Chicago; joins the botany faculty
--1899: publishes "The
Ecological Relations of the Vegetation on the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan"
--1901: publishes "The
Physiographic Ecology of Chicago and Vicinity" in Botanical Gazette
--1910-1911: president, Association of American Geographers
--1910-1911: publishes his A Textbook of Botany for Colleges and Universities
in two volumes, with J. M. Coulter and C. R. Barnes
--1911-1925: professor of botany, University of Chicago
--1914: helps found the Ecological Society of America
--1917: president, Ecological Society of America
--1922: president, Botanical Society of America
--1923: receives honorary D.Sc. from Oberlin College
--1925-1934: chair of the botany department, University of Chicago; editor
of the Botanical Gazette
--1930: president of the phytogeography and ecology section, International
Botanical Congress, Cambridge, U. K.
--1934: retires from the University of Chicago; is made life member of
the British Ecological Society
--dies at Chicago, Illinois, on 12 September 1939.
--American National Biography, Vol. 5 (1999).
--Dictionary of American Biography,
Vol. 22 (Supplement Two) (1958).
--Ecology, Vol. 16(3) (1935): 281-283.
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography,
Vol. 39 (1954).
Vol. 28(2) (1940): 450-452.
of the Association of American Geographers,
Vol. 30(1) (1940): 39-43.
--Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy
of Science, Arts and Letters, Vol. 81 (1993): 12-22.
--Taxonomic Literature, Supplement
--Henry Chandler Cowles: Pioneer Ecologist (2007).
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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