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Landscapes and Labscapes

Exploring the Lab-Field Border in Biology

What is it like to do field biology in a world that exalts experiments and laboratories? How have field biologists assimilated laboratory values and practices, and crafted an exact, quantitative science without losing their naturalist souls?

In Landscapes and Labscapes, Robert E. Kohler explores the people, places, and practices of field biology in the United States from the 1890s to the 1950s. He takes readers into the fields and forests where field biologists learned to count and measure nature and to read the imperfect records of "nature’s experiments." He shows how field researchers use nature’s particularities to develop "practices of place" that achieve in nature what laboratory researchers can only do with simplified experiments. Using historical frontiers as models, Kohler shows how biologists created vigorous new border sciences of ecology and evolutionary biology.

341 pages | 39 halftones, 22 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2002

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Tropical Biology and Conservation

History of Science

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Chapter 1 Borders and History
Field and Lab in Biology
Lab and Field as Place
Borders and Frontiers
An Overview, with Caveats

Chapter 2 A New Natural History
The New Natural History
New Naturalists and Educational Reform
Labscapes: Marine Stations and Biological Farms
Labscapes: Vivaria and Field Stations

Chapter 3 Border Crossings
The Rise and Decline of Biometry
Ecology: Physiology or Natural History?
Up "Brush Creek" and Back Again
Guardians of the Faith: Genetics and Physiology

Chapter 4 Taking Nature’s Measure
Trust in Numbers: Quadrates
Taking Nature’s Measure: Instruments
Plant-Machine: Atmometers and Phytometers
Instrumental Eye: The Camera
Making the Place Right: Forrest Shreve

Chapter 5 Experiments in Nature
Experimental Evolution
Shifting Ground: Field and Lab
Experiments in Nature: Ecology
Experimental Taxonomy: Harvey M. Hall and Jens Clausen

Chapter 6 Troubled Lives
Midlife Crises: Ecology
Ends and Means: Experimental Evolution
Genetics, True and False
Physiologists and the Field

Chapter 7 Nature’s Experiments
Nature’s Experiments
Places in Process
Reading Places
Physiographic Ecology

Chapter 8 Border Practices
Geographical Speciation: Ernst Mayr
Hybrid Integration: Edgar Anderson
Ecosystem Ecology: Raymond Lindeman
Gradients and Continua: Robert Whittaker

Chapter 9 Border Biology: A Transect
The Border Zone: A Bird’s-Eye View


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