Skip to main content

Foundations of Ecology

Classic Papers with Commentaries

Assembled here for the first time in one volume are forty classic papers that have laid the foundations of modern ecology. Whether by posing new problems, demonstrating important effects, or stimulating new research, these papers have made substantial contributions to an understanding of ecological processes, and they continue to influence the field today.

The papers span nearly nine decades of ecological research, from 1887 on, and are organized in six sections: foundational papers, theoretical advances, synthetic statements, methodological developments, field studies, and ecological experiments. Selections range from Connell’s elegant account of experiments with barnacles to Watt’s encyclopedic natural history, from a visionary exposition by Grinnell of the concept of niche to a seminal essay by Hutchinson on diversity.

Six original essays by contemporary ecologists and a historian of ecology place the selections in context and discuss their continued relevance to current research. This combination of classic papers and fresh commentaries makes Foundations of Ecology both a convenient reference to papers often cited today and an essential guide to the intellectual and conceptual roots of the field.

Published with the Ecological Society of America.

920 pages | illustrations throughout | 6-3/4 x 9-1/2 | © 1991

Published in association with the Ecological Society of America

Biological Sciences: Ecology

Table of Contents

Part One - Foundational Papers
Defining Ecology as a Science
Sharon E. Kingsland

1. Stephen A. Forbes (1887)
The Lake as a Microcosm
(Bulletin of the Peoria Scientific Association, pp. 77-87. Reprinted in the Bulletin of the Illinois State Natural History Survey 15 (1925): 537-50

2. Henry Chandler Cowles (1899)
The Ecological Relations of the Vegetation on the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan
The Botanical Gazette 27 : 97-117, 167-202, 281-308, 361-91

3. Frederic E. Clements (1936)
Nature and Structure of the Climax
The Journal of Ecology 24 : 252-84

4. H. A. Gleason (1926)
The Individualistic Concept of the Plant Association
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 53 : 7-26

5. Joseph Grinnell (1917)
The Niche-Relationships of the California Thrasher
The Auk 34 : 427-33

6. A. J. Nicholson and V. A. Bailey (1935)
The Balance of Animal Populations, Part I
Proceeding of the Zoological Society, London, no. 3, pp. 551-98

Part Two - Theoretical Advances
The Role of Theory in the Rise of Modern Ecology
Leslie A. Real and Simon A. Levin

8. Frank W. Preston (1962)
The Canonical Distribution of Commonness and Rarity, Part I
Ecology 43 : 185-215, 431-32

9. G. Evelyn Hutchinson (1957)
Concluding Remarks
Population Studies: Animal Ecology and Demography. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 22 : 415-27

10. Lamont C. Cole (1954)
The Population Consequences of Life History Phenomena
The Quarterly Review of Biology 29 : 103-37

11. Robert M. May (1974)
Biological Populations with Non-Overlapping Generations: Stable Points, Stable Cycles, and Chaos
Science 186 : 645-47

12. Robert H. MacArthur and Eric R. Pianka (1966)
On Optimal Use of a Patchy Environment
The American Naturalist 100 : 603-9

13. Vito Volterra (1926)
Fluctuations in the Abundance of a Species Considered Mathematically
Nature 118 : 558-60

14. J. G. Skellam (1951)
Random Dispersal in Theoretical Populations
Biometrika 38 : 196-218

Part Three - Theses, Antitheses, and Syntheses
Conversational Biology and Ecological Debate
Joel G. Kingsolver and Robert T. Paine

15. A. G. Tansley (1935)
The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts and Terms
Ecology 16 : 284-307

16. G. E. Hutchinson (1959)
Homage to Santa Rosalia; or, Why Are There So Many Kinds of Animals?
The American Naturalist 93 : 145-59
17. Nelson G. Hairston, Frederick E. Smith, and Lawrence B. Slobodkin (1960)
Community Structure, Population Control, and Competition
The American Naturalist 94 : 421-25

18. Paul R. Ehrlich and Peter H. Raven (1964)
Butterflies and Plants: A Study in Coevolution
Evolution 18 : 586-608

19. J. L. Harper (1967)
A Darwinian Approach to Plant Ecology
The Journal of Ecology 55 : 247-70

20. Thomas W. Schoener (1971)
Theory of Feeding Strategies
Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 2 : 369-404

Part Four - Methodological Advances
New Approaches and Methods in Ecology
James H. Brown

21. Lennart von Post (1967 [1916])
Forest Tree Pollen in South Swedish Peat Bog Deposits
Pollen et Spores 9 : 378-401. A translation by Margaret Bryan Davis and Knut Faegri of Om skogstradspollen i sydsvenska torfmosselagerfolijder (foredragsreferat) (Geolgiska Foereningen i Stockholm. Foerhandlingar 38 : 384-34), with an introduction by Knut Faegri and Johs. Iversen

22. P. H. Leslie (1945)
On the Use of Matrices in Certain Population Mathematics
Biometrika 33 : 183-212

23. L. C. Birch (1948)
The Intrinsic Rate of Natural Increase of an Insect Population
The Journal of Animal Ecology 17 : 15-26
24. C. S. Holling (1959)
The Components of Predation as Revealed by a Study of Small Mammal Predation of the European Pine Sawfly
The Canadian Entomologist 91 : 293-320

25. Warren P. Porter and David M. Gates (1969)
Thermodynamic Equilibria of Animals with Environment
Ecological Monographs 39 : 227-44

26. J. Roger Bray and J. T. Curtis (1957)
An Ordination of the Upland Forest Communities of Southern Wisconsin
Ecological Monographs 27 : 325-49

27. Eugene P. Odum (1969)
The Strategy of Ecosystem Development
Science 164 : 262-70

Part Five - Case Studies in Natural Systems
Lessons from Nature: Case Studies in Natural Systems
Robert K. Peet

28. J. Davidson and H. G. Andrewartha (1948)
The Influence of Rainfall, Evaporation and Atmospheric Temperature on Fluctuations in the Size of a Natural Population of Thrips Imaginis (Thysanoptera)
The Journal of Animal Ecology 17 : 200-222

29. John M. Teal (1962)
Energy Flow in the Salt Marsh Ecosystem of Georgia
Ecology 43 : 614-24

30. Margaret B. Davis (1969)
Climatic Changes in Southern Connecticut Recorded by Pollen Desposition at Rogers Lake
Ecology 50 : 409-22

31. Alex S. Watt (1947)
Pattern and Process in the Plant Community
The Journal of Ecology 35 : 1-22

32. Robert H. MacArthur (1958)
Population Ecology of Some Warblers of Northeastern Coniferous Forests
Ecology 39 : 599-619

33. John Langdon Brooks and Stanley I. Dodson (1965)
Predation, Body Size, and Composition of Plankton
Science 150 : 28-35

Part Six - Experimental Manipulations in Lab and Field Systems
Manipulative Experiments as Tests of Ecological Theory
Jane Lubchenco and Leslie A. Real

34. H. B. D. Kettlewell (1955)
Selection Experiments on Industrial Melanism in the Lepidoptera
Heredity 9 :323-42

35. Thomas Park (1948)
Experimental Studies of Interspecies Competition. I. Competition between Populations of the Flour Beetles, Tribolium confusum Duvall and Tribolium castaneum Herbst
Ecological Monographs 18 : 267-307
36. C. B. Huffaker (1958)
Experimental Studies on Predation: Dispersion Factors and Predator-Prey Oscillations
Hilgardia 27 : 343-83

37. Joseph H. Connell (1961)
The Influence of Interspecific Competition and Other Factors on the Distribution of the Barnacle Chthamalus stellatus
Ecology 42 : 710-23

38. Robert T. Paine (1966)
Food Web Complexity and Species Diversity
The American Naturalist 100 : 65-75

39. Daniel S. Simberloff and Edward O. Wilson (1969)
Experimental Zoogeography of Islands: The Colonization of Empty Islands
Ecology 50 : 278-96

40. Gene E. Likens, F. Herbert Bormann, Noye M. Johnson, D. W. Fisher, and Robert S. Pierce (1970)
Effects of Forest Cutting and Herbicide Treatment on Nutrient Budgets in the Hubbard Brook Watershed-Ecosystem
Ecological Monographs 40 : 23-47

List of Contributors

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press