Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Forbes, Stephen Alfred (United States
||Forbes was a major figure in Midwestern science around the turn of the
century, well known as an entomologist, administrator, and professional
scientist. After a sterling military career (he reached the rank of captain
by the age of twenty) he turned to teaching and soon came into state employment
as a naturalist. There he rapidly ascended to positions of leadership
both within Illinois' state natural history survey, and the University
of Illinois. Meanwhile, he was turning out a string of research reports
on local elements of zoology that would eventually total some five hundred
in number. The vast majority of these concerned the natural history of
insects, but he also wrote on fishes and other animals. He is best known,
however, for his early studies on food chain relationships, and in turn
for his important anticipatory role in the development of the field of
ecology. His most famous work is undoubtedly the 1887 paper "The Lake
as a Microcosm," which foreshadowed the development of the ecosystem concept.
In this and other works, Forbes was especially ahead of his time in recognizing
various community ecology-related ideas, for example those involving predator-prey
--born in Silver Creek, Illinois, on 29 May 1844.
--1862: captured in the Civil War and held prisoner
for four months
--1865-1872: studies medicine, then teaches
at various schools in Illinois
--1872-1877: curator, Illinois State Natural
History Society Museum
--1875-1878: instructor in zoology at the Illinois
State Normal University
--1877-1917: founder then director, Illinois
State Laboratory of Natural History
--1880: publishes "On Some Interactions of Organisms" in the Illinois
Natural History Survey Bulletin
--1882-1917: Illinois state entomologist
--1884-1909: professor of zoology, University
--1884: Ph.D., Indiana University
--1887: first publishes "The
Lake as a Microcosm," in the Bulletin of the Scientific Association
--1888-1905: dean of the College of Science,
University of Illinois
--1893, 1908: president, American Association
of Economic Entomologists
--1894: founds the Biological Research Station
on the Illinois River
--1901-1907: president, National Society of
--1905: honorary LL.D., University of Illinois
--1908: publishes his The
Fishes of Illinois; president, Illinois Academy of Science
--1909-1921: professor of entomology, University
--1912: president, Entomological Society of
America; president, Ecological Society of America
--1917: made chief of the State Natural History
--1918: elected to the National Academy of Sciences
--dies at Urbana, Illinois, on 13 March 1930.
--American National Biography, Vol. 8 (1999).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography,
Vol. 5 (1972).
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography,
Vol. 22 (1932).
--American Entomologists (1971): 55-60.
--Journal of the History of Biology,
Vol. 23 (1990): 461-498.
Vol. 91(4) (2000): 681-705.
Vol. 71(1841) (1930): 378-381.
--Stephen Forbes and the Rise of American
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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