Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Sears, Paul Bigelow (United States 1891-1990)
plant ecology, conservation

Photo courtesy of the Botanical Society of America.
Although not a prolific scientific writer, Sears spent a good portion of his early years investigating the history of postglacial vegetation in eastern North America. There he involved himself in studies concerning archeology-fossil pollen relations, field and data recording techniques, prairie enclaves in forested areas, climate changes, and biogeographic relationships. He was especially known for his development of the techniques of pollen analysis. More importantly, possibly, this background gave him an appreciation for ecological change as affected by human beings, and in the second half of his life he became known as one of the country's leading conservationists and writers on environmental subjects. His 1935 book Deserts on the March was especially influential, stimulating a greater national appreciation of the importance of soil conservation, and focusing attention on the interplay between ecology and human activity.

Life Chronology

--born in Bucyrus, Ohio, on 17 December 1891.
--1913: B.A. in zoology, Ohio Wesleyan University
--1915: M.A. in botany, University of Nebraska
--1915-1919: instructor in botany, Ohio State University
--1917-1919: serves in the U. S. Army
--1919-1927: teaches botany at the University of Nebraska
--1922: Ph.D. in botany, University of Chicago
--1927-1938: professor and chairman of the botany department, University of Oklahoma
--1935: publishes his Deserts on the March
--1938-1950: professor and chairman of the botany department, Oberlin College
--1948: president, Ecological Society of America
--1949-1950: president, Ohio Academy of Science
--1950: publishes his Charles Darwin, The Naturalist as a Cultural Force
--1950-1960: professor and chairman of the Master of Science Conservation Program, Yale University
--1956: president, American Association for the Advancement of Science
--1959: president, American Society of Naturalists
--1963: awarded the Richard Prentice Ettinger Medal
--1965: receives Eminent Ecologist award from the Ecological Society of America
--1966: publishes his The Living Landscape
--1969: publishes his Lands Beyond the Forest
--dies at Taos, New Mexico, on 30 April 1990.

For Additional Information, See:

--American National Biography, Vol. 19 (1999).
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. J (1964).
--Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists (1997).
--Ohio Journal of Science, Vol. 90(5) (1990): 186-190.
--BioScience, Vol. 26(9) (1976): 536, 582.
--Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, Vol. 46(4) (1965): 151-152.
--Current Biography Yearbook 1960.
--McGraw-Hill Modern Scientists and Engineers, Vol. 3 (1980).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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